Tahoe City trail event attracts hikers despite High Sierra snow
Jen and Josh Rudnick rounded the corner at Commons Beach Tuesday carrying packs and looking a bit rugged. Then they were swarmed.
“Look, thru-hikers,” one person said while pointing at the couple.
Indeed, the Rudnicks had just stepped off the Pacific Crest Trail and into town for the second annual Tahoe City Trail Days. They received help, as well as adjustment repairs from equipment company reps while giving the reps feedback on how gear holds up on the PCT.
“It’s incredible,” Josh Rudnick, known as “Juice” on the trail, said while an Alpenglow employee handed him some baked goods. “It’s amazing to be here.”
Don Fyfe, owner of Alpenglow in Tahoe City, and Steve Ray of Outdoor Research, started talking four years ago about organizing a trail event for PCT and Tahoe Rim Trail thru-hikers modeled after the Appalachian Trail Days Festival in Damascus, Va. Now in its second year, the Tahoe City Trail Days is just getting off the ground with gear representatives from Osprey, Granite Gear, Salomon, Lowa, Katadyn and others helping a handful of thru-hikers.
“The primary goal of the first two years is to cater to thru-hikers. We’re reaching out to them,” Fyfe said. “We were thrown a curve ball because of the snow. We’d like to see it grow.”
Ray said the Tahoe City event is the only trail event along the PCT and that he has reached out to hikers by attending the PCT kick-off event in Southern California in April where he handed out flyers to stores along the trail.
“Next season we will turn this into a consumer expo, but still focus on PCT and Rim Trail hikers. We want to involve the community more,” Ray said. “The Appalachian Trail Days attracts 33,000 people, but it took 19 years to get to that point. It started like this.”
Astrid Gulbrandsen of Squaw Valley attended the event because she is interested in hiking more and wanted to hear stories from thru-hikers.
“I hiked Mount Whitney last year ” it was my first long-distance altitude hike. I would like to do more,” Gulbrandsen said. “I wanted to see what they [thru-hikers] found they needed.”
For the Rudnicks, who are hiking the PCT for their honeymoon, they found they needed less than they thought. Expecting heavy snowpack, the Spokane, Wash., couple carried crampons and ice axes, but ditched them after they didn’t use the gear in the Sierra.
“People who left in April had to deal with a lot [of snow], but those who left in May had no problem,” Jen Rudnick, also called “Radio,” said. “There has been a lot of snow in the high Sierra. We hiked eight hours in snow one day. It has slowed us down, but hasn’t been a big problem.”
Tahoe City Trail Days
Today at Commons Beach in Tahoe City gear reps will be on hand, as well as representatives from the Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail associations
– 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
– For more on the Rudnicks, visit http://www.trailjournals.com/rudnicks
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