Starting on August 17th, over the ten following days, Magdalena Romanska, owner of the Be Fit Fit in VOC, completed the coveted distance of the TRT (Tahoe Rim Trail), alone.
TRT is a 170 mile long-distance ultra hiking trail looping around Lake Tahoe in Sierra Nevada and Carson mountains ranges of California and Nevada. Parts of it are also open to mountain biking (on even days of the month) and horseback riding.
Apart from covering the TRT distance itself, Magdalena also explored multiple side trails, averaging about 30 miles of fast hiking (aka power packing) a day (and sometimes, hiking during the night, which provided for a stunning and very peaceful experience, especially in dense forests).
The TRT is divided into eight long segments and you must obtain special permits for hiking and camping in the Desolation Wilderness area. From probably more than half of the TRT, you cannot even see the Lake Tahoe – the hiking area is high in the mountains above the lake itself.
Due to the fragile nature of the environment, over extended distances, you are not allowed to camp and cannot set a camp fire. Water must always be filtrated and oftentimes, is scarcely available, so planning is crucial!
Most of the time, Magdalena hiked and camped alone. Most of the days, she only met several hikers or bikers a day. She carried an ultra light backpack with minimal survival equipment and camping necessities with her, water filtration system, and all the food she needed (mostly dried) in a bear-resistant ultra light canister.
The altitudes ranged between just under 8K and 10.3K feet. Weather was, mostly, cooperating, but on occasion, she endured a sudden hail storm, violent rain, lighting and thunders – one of these set her back by four hours, as she had to wait it through in her tent. Most of the nights were quite cold to cold.
Views were truly stunning and Magdalena’s ever-favorite area was the Echo and Aloha Lakes and the Dick’s Pass to the west from Lake Tahoe.
Animals encountered ranged from lovely, super fast squirrels through lots of foxes, deer, elk, beaver, snakes and bears. She also saw multiple mountain lion traces, but did not encounter any of these animals. Hikers were pestered by both mosquitoes and flies and aggressive ants.
Magdalena estimates it took her about 700,000 steps to cover the distance of the main and adjacent trails – one step at a time. It was a great exercise in endurance, resilience, strength and meticulous planning.
She also lost about ten pounds – despite of diligent eating of high-calorie foods, ranging from various nuts she carried with her through energy gels, dried and dehydrated foods and PB! She promises to get back to the gym, do some weight lifting and regain all the lost muscle or more.
On the west side, the TRT single track merges with the Pacific Crest Trail. Both trails, just like the John Muir Trail and Appalachian Trail, are very high on the to-do list for any endurance/trail runner aficionados. Many people complete parts of these trails every single year, but only the fittest can do the whole distance.