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Friday, July 26, 2002: Rest Day

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We've been riding every day for 5 days. Yesterday was the hardest. Neil is still pretty sore. We decide to take a day off the bikes. Trey, our directeur sportiff, decides to take us over to Squaw Valley for a hike. We pile into the Explorer. Chrissy and the dog, Emma follow us in the Blazer. Emma is the most excited.

At Squaw Valley we find a place to park. The early part of the hike is relatively flat but very rocky. The trail is marked with blue paint marks. The Forest Service prefers hikers stay on the trail to reduce erosion.

We follow a stream coming down from the mountain. It is the end of July, nearly 90 degrees and there are still patches of snow at the top. The melting snow feeds the stream. Chrissy and Trey comment on how low the stream is. Emma doesn't care. She jumps in for a swim and to chase a pine cone. Emma's life revolves around two things. Chasing tennis balls is number one. Number two, when tennis balls aren't available, pine cones will do. Emma loves the cold water and comes out shivering. Trey tells us that you used to be able to drink the water directly but nowadaus it should be filtered. There is a microscopic parasite that lives in the water and an infection could cause some serious intestinal problems.

We walk through a small forest of giant white pine and ponderosa pine. Some of the trees are at least five feet in diameter and 150 feet tall. The dog and everyone walking along kick up a fine dust into the air that smells like old pine furniture when you sand it. The wet dog, usually brown and white is now brown and black. We come to a large pool in the woods. Emma rinses off, chasing more pine cones.

Soon the woods thin out and we're out in the open. The rocks and boulders are bigger, about the size of small cars. As we go up. It is amazing how fast we gain elevation. Eventually we get to our turnaround.We look down on Squaw Valley. The cars in the parking lot are tiny points, hardly discernable. The sharp blue sky, massive rocks, green trees and fields, curling mountian stream of cold chrystal water cannot be adequately described. A picture can't convey the beauty. The scene is like a cool drink of sweet water. We stop for water and pictures.

It is time to go back. Appetites are beginning to build. We turn and head down. And down. And down. And down. And down. It seems like it's taking longer to get down than it did to go up. We'll all tired and hungry. Emma rinses off again as we get close to the cars.

We head up the road to the Bridge Keeper's Tavern. It's in Tahoe City next to Fanny Bridge. Fanny Bridge got its name from all the people standing and looking down at the fish in the water below. From the street all you can see is a line-up of fannies. There aren't any fat ones.

Burgers, beers and comaraderie for all.

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