While a ‘spectator’ of the 2009 Donner Lake Triathlon, I took some time off to explore part of the Donner Lake Rim trail: the Negro Canyon trailhead right off the I-80 exit connects with a gradual singletrack climb to the well-marked DLRT. In recent years a lot of work has been done on the DRLT – the little sibling of the TRT – and the results are fabulous; great job by the volunteers that were round up by the Truckee Donner Land Trust. The western section, near the PCT and Hole in the Ground trail is a beautiful technical gem, featuring lots of fun involving granite boulders. Summit Lake and the surroundings are gorgeous, offering great views on Andesite and Castle Peaks, Donner Lake deep in the valley, Sugarbowl, etc.
I didn’t have the time to venture much further – though the siren call of HitG was loud – so I turned around and put on Grandaddy’s ‘Crystal Lake’ for a fast descent back to Donner during which I enjoyed that rare moment in the zone where you lose track of time and self, where there’s only focus and exhilaration (and some well-placed rocks to wipe you out, but that’s another matter).
The crystal lake it only laughs
It knows you’re just a modern man
It’s shining like the chandelier
Shining somewhere far away from here