Mile 789.1-799.5 (10.4)
Barking Spider here again. I’m taking over the blog this week.
Cold mornings make early starts unlikely. The world is painfully uncomfortable outside of the sleeping bag. The hiking socks and shoes waiting for us are still wet and cold from the day before. The tent is covered in ice. All the clothing I am carrying with me won’t be enough to keep me warm while I eat breakfast and pack up.
Eventually we get going. The pack still feels horribly heavy with all the food plus two liters of water, extra layers, micro spikes, ice axe, and bear canister. There will come a day when we get to the other side of the Sierra Nevadas and I’ll be able to send the extra things home. I try to remember that day is coming when my back and shoulders protest the weight.
And we walk and it’s good. The area up here is beautiful. Trekking through snow is interesting and dynamic. The quality of the snow changing all day long.
This section of hiking has been going through a valley then up over a pass then repeat. The valleys have been very wet, getting snowmelt from towering grey mountains on either side. They are filled with lakes and wet lands and raging streams, snow, hills, giant rocks and trees. When we drop below 9,000 feet we see cedar trees again. Above that mark seems to be only pine.
The passes are low points in a wall of mountains. We often go up thousands of feet towards them at a hardly noticeable grade and then the grade goes up steeply and we have to switchback our way to the top. When the switchbacks are buried in snow, which is half the time, we follow the tracks of the hikers before us which invariably go straight up or down.
On the other side we reached a point in the trail where the tracks went steeply downhill. Glissading was pretty much the only option to get down and so down we went. Our butts got soaked as we slid down barely in control if at all. We continued on foot, mostly unhurt.
We knew weather was coming and that we were only covering ten miles to the base of the next pass, so when we saw big clouds approaching we set up our tent and waited it out. This was one of the nicest parts of the day for me. Homestretch and I cuddled up and shared earbuds as we listened to a podcast. We both fell asleep.
We peaked out when the sun was beating down on us and saw the coast was clear. We packed up and got going again, but not for long. Another big cloud of rain appeared where we couldn’t see it and it started to open up on us. We set up the tent again and gave it some more time to pass.
Packing up again for the third and final time, we pushed down the hill to our camp spot for the night. It was raining as we set up and it rained on and off while we ate and got ready for bed.
Tomorrow is supposedly the last day of precipitation before endless days of sun. We will be ready for what comes.