Mile 734.0-759.5 (25.5)
Last night both of us were freezing. It is so, so cold up here. We didn’t get up until the sun was out to warm us.
The first 9 miles were not too bad, though I was super tired and struggled to get comfortable. It felt like there were only two body temperature setting: freezing cold or overheating. Wind, shade, and elevation change conspired against me.
Spider got water at Dutch Meadow Spring while I continued on with two untouched icy liters in my pack, knowing he would catch up to me soon. And he did, just as we started getting into some snow. The snow was old and only slightly mushy from the early afternoon sun. It slowed us down, and we lost more time trying to pick up the trail after long stretches of snow when old footprints led us astray. Just an annoyance, nothing more.
However, it was past 3pm when we got to Chicken Spring Lake, our first alpine lake, all covered in ice. We met a couple from Lone Pine who hiked the PCT in 2012, and we talked with them a bit and ate some of their mango and peanut butter pretzel snacks (thanks for sharing!). They left to hike back down to Lone Pine and we hiked on, continuing north on the PCT.
More snow. Felt frustrating to be going so slow with 10 miles still to camp, getting our shoes wet when we know they won’t dry before they freeze tonight, growing colder and feeling so off track. Luckily we have lots of tools at our disposal and never strayed too far off the trail. And we had plenty of daylight hours left. And as the trail entered a wide pine forest, there was more space to pick our way around the snow. Our shoes would be wet but our feet would warm up.
We descended below 10,000 feet for the first time in hours and soon after found a flat spot in the woods. It was late in the day, the sun just disappearing, the air growing much colder. We ate our little dinners and curled up in bed.