Against the majestic backdrop of Lake Tahoe, a story of extraordinary determination and commitment to social and environmental causes recently unfolded. The main character was Justin Wadsworth, a Truckee, California native, and his challenge was the unprecedented Tahoe Trifecta. Justin’s journey was not just a test of physical endurance, but also a profound expression of his dedication to Lake Tahoe and the people who help protect it.
Justin’s daunting task, the Tahoe Trifecta, consisted of running the Tahoe Rim Trail (165 miles), biking (75 miles), and paddling (72 miles) around Lake Tahoe. His journey spanned nine days, covering a remarkable 312 miles and a staggering 32,000 feet of total elevation gain. He subjected himself to all this to support local non-profits dedicated to serving the families of fallen firefighters and protecting the Lake’s natural beauty.
Growing up in Truckee and working as a hotshot firefighter, Justin has a deep-rooted connection to the Lake Tahoe region. His experience fighting wildfires and witnessing the consequences of environmental neglect grew his passion for conservation.
“Growing up around Lake Tahoe, the place became a part of who I am.” The Tahoe Trifecta was his way of raising awareness and funds for organizations committed to the region.
The dollars raised from Justin’s monumental effort benefited impactful non-profits like Keep Tahoe Blue, Clean Up The Lake, and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Keep Tahoe Blue is dedicated to protecting the Lake’s health and our enjoyment of it through combating pollution, tackling invasive species, and advancing restoration. Clean Up the Lake fights pollution by performing scuba cleanups in Lake Tahoe and its surrounding areas, and by implementing litter mitigation strategies in areas of need. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation supports the families of fallen or injured wildland firefighters and educates the public about wildland fires and firefighter safety. Justin’s commitment to these causes exemplifies his dedication to preserving natural beauty and supporting those who protect it.
The Tahoe Trifecta is a testament to human resilience. Justin faced numerous physical and mental challenges, pushing through injuries and fatigue. “My voice is still a little gone, and my ankle is still a little swollen, but it’s all good,” he joked. He was driven by his mission to protect Lake Tahoe and supported by the community’s unwavering encouragement. “The support from people I know, and even those I don’t via social media, kept me going,” he said.
The local community and social media users played a pivotal role in amplifying Justin’s message. Their support not only boosted his morale but also helped spread awareness about Lake Tahoe’s conservation needs. “It was amazing to see people come together, following and sharing my journey,” Justin recalls. This collective effort highlighted the importance of community engagement in environmental stewardship. The presence of his friends and family at various points along the route provided him with much-needed motivation and a sense of connection.
The memorable moments he experienced, particularly the awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets over the Lake, reinforced his commitment to the cause. Justin’s advice for those inspired by his journey is straightforward, “Just get outside. Start small, and your actions will make a difference.”
Justin’s Tahoe Trifecta symbolizes dedication, resilience, and the power of the individual to make a meaningful impact in the face of environmental challenges. His journey also reminds us of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve natural wonders like Lake Tahoe. No matter how small, every action to leave the Lake better than you found it helps Keep Tahoe Blue for future generations.