Hiking in a Circle: A Prologue

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs where I hope to regale you with the tales of both the preparatory steps and the physical steps that I will take to circumnavigate Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Though this endeavor will take a great deal of time (to plan and to do), I want to quickly front load some of the basics of this journey.


First of all, I’m Rachel. I am a teacher by weekday and trail goer by weekend. While I am not hiking or trail running, I enjoy perusing local historical or art museums, visiting national parks and monuments, or reading an outdoor-centric memoir while sipping coffee. Joining me on this trek is my good friend, Kisha, a fellow teacher and trail runner, as well as a previous backpacking partner. She and I will be aiming to complete a thru-hike of the trail. My boyfriend will join us for the first leg of the trip through Desolation Wilderness. Then we ladies will finish up the remaining one-hundred-or-so miles.

Kisha (left) and I (right) at the summit of Arizona’s highest mountain: Humphreys Peak (12,633ft)


Our physical objective is to thru-hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, an approximately 165-mile loop. This means that we will be backpacking continuously until we return to our start point. (You should check out all of the comprehensive information on the Tahoe Rim Trail Association website. They house several resources for a variety of recreators.) Beyond completing this entire loop, one of my objectives is to test the outer reaches of my fortitude. I want to summon the inner strength required to accomplish a feat of this magnitude.


The Tahoe Rim Trail is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It circles the vast Lake Tahoe Basin, which spans across the California and Nevada state line. We will begin our expedition in the pristine Desolation Wilderness, and we will navigate in a clockwise direction around the looped trail.

Lake Sabrina, Inyo National Forest – The Sierra have been the source of fond memories throughout my life, and they’ve long inspired my fascination and awe of the wilderness.


We set foot into the Desolation Wilderness at the end of June. When will we conclude this journey? I’m not quite certain. If there is anything that backpacking has taught me, it’s that it’s futile to predict what miles you’ll make on any given day. That being said, my goal is to hike the whole trail in about two weeks’ time.


When telling people that I want to hike a 165-ish-mile trail, a typical response includes the rapid fire questions: “How long will that take? Where will you sleep? What will you eat? What if you need to use the bathroom?” Though these questions stem from bewilderment, they usually ooze with curiosity. Ever since the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail piqued my own curiosities during my childhood, I’ve dreamed of a great adventure like thru-hiking from Mexico to Canada. In the past decade, that dream has molded into a plan, which I hope, someday (soon-ish), to fulfill. However, due to life circumstances, taking months off of my obligations is just not feasible yet, but the draw of being on a trail long-term is simply overwhelming. Therefore, completing a “shorter” (a very relative term when it comes to backpacking) trail will hopefully satisfy my craving for the thru-hiker lifestyle.

Whitney Trail, overlooking Lone Pine Lake – Day 10 of my first-ever backpacking trip, 2018


We just need to put one foot in front of the other, right? Ultimately, that’s the easy part. With plenty of planning, I am hoping to make this a successful trip for all involved. All appropriate permits, such as the free California campfire permit and the overnight permit for Desolation Wilderness, have been acquired. A loose itinerary has been drafted. The logistical details, such as transportation and resupplying, will take some time and work, but those will be ironed eventually. For physical preparation, luckily, Kisha and I will be in the midst of ultra-trail-marathon training. Integrating a proper strength routine will be crucial to ready ourselves for a multi-day undertaking such as this thru-hike. Again, with time and work, these things will be ironed out.

Over the next several months, I will be meticulously planning for this adventure, hammering out all of the foreseeable details and practicing the flexibility necessary for the unpredictable ones. Backpacking changed my life five and a half years ago (more details to come in the next blog), and I eagerly await this opportunity to test the bounds of my limits on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

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Comments 3

  • William : Jan 18th

    Fukn do it, sis. I’m rootin for you.

  • Dan : Jan 22nd

    Wow, and looking gorgeous. I’d love to go on a backpacking trip like that. Id definitely want to bring somebody though. I’d go with you considering you have experience. Although im sure i will be fine because i know wilderness Survival and im a good cook. 😂
    Keep it up sweetheart, one day you may have hiked further than anyone in history.

  • Jason (bikerboy) : Jan 25th

    You guys are going to do great! It’s inspiring to me. My plan is a thru hike of the AT at 45 years old. So 3.5 years in the planning. Live your dreams and best blessings to you in June 2024 ✨️


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