Monday, June 23, 2008
Tahoe Rim Trail - Kingsbury North to Spooner Summit - June 21
We arrived at Kingsbury North staging area around 11am on a Saturday. The parking area was pretty full, but we managed to park our rig on the side of the road. Would not have had much room for any other horse trailers. Or, if you get there earlier, yes there would be room for probably 4 or so. All we did was tack up the horses, and start riding to Spooner. The plan was to ride the 12.2 miles to Spooner, call a cab, have Logan take the cab back to Kingsbury, and then move the rig to Spooner and spend the night there. On our way in the morning, we stopped by Spooner with our rig and dropped off some hay and water for the horses to eat while I had to wait for Logan to come back with the trailer. I figured it would take about an hour, so we just dropped one flake of hay each and about 15 gallons of water.
The trail was gorgeous! Incredible Views of the Lake! We went really slow, i.e. walked and ate a lot of grass, so that the humans could enjoy the surroundings. It took about 5 hours at a really slow pace to get to Spooner, but the footing for 2/3 of the trail was really great and could be trotted. 1/3 of the trail was granite boulders and rock gardens, technical rocks. But nothing 'too hard' for the horses. I would suggest a savvy trail horse for this whole trail. The view at the top of the ridge was breathtaking.... There was a thunderstorm passing through, so the wind was also strong up there. Still had some snow off to the side of the trail on June 21, but the horses licked it and got water. There were NO WATER SOURCES on this trail!! Pack your own water, and water for your dog. Plan to drop off water at the finish line, as there is not a hose or a water tap at the staging areas either. Lots of wildflowers! The grades of the trail were moderate, you had steady, consistent climbs, nothing too steep. It was about 1600' up in 6 miles, and about that same height down spread over another 6 miles.
So when we get to Spooner, I called the cab. The cab company said, sorry, road is closed in S. Lake Tahoe for a street party, we can't get you until at least 8:30. Oh no.... what to do? Ride back another 12 miles? Reasonable for the horses, but our dog would have liked a break. Well, I kept calling and found a cab out of North Lake Tahoe to come and pick us up. It took Logan and hour and a half just to get back to the rig because of traffic on the road and cost $80. So over 2 hours later, the trailer arrived and we got the horses tucked in for the night. I should have left more water. There was green grass everywhere, but not enough water. The sky had been threatening all day, and it was raining just a little bit here and there, but passed by the time Logan arrived.
We set up camp in a big open area about 200' from the HW 50. We were the only ones there. To get to the landing, drive about 1/8th of a mile past the Spooner TRT Trail head, and make the first right turn onto a dirt road, and follow it straight up the hill. The turn is right after the divided highway begins. Tons of room for horses! When you leave in the morning, back your rig down the hill so that you can pull through to the TRT staging area to easily make the left turn out onto HW50.
Other Trail Users: This was a Saturday, so it was busy. We passed about 15 mountain bikes and about 20 hikers. There are OHV trails all around the Rim trail, so make sure your horse is accustomed to the noise of motorcycles.
Dogs: Pacman did fine on this section. Take lots of water as there was not even a puddle for him to drink out of. Very little small rock for the pads, the rocks that are out there are boulders which he did fine on. We started him out in doggy boots, but he was not moving well, and I think he got overheated in them (dogs sweat and cool off through their pads), so we took them off and he did much better. He did carry his back pack with water and first aid kit.