Mile 873.4-893.6 (20.2)
Mosquitos were hanging on the tent door when I woke up. Fresh daylight on distant mountains, cool morning air.
There was a small climb first thing, which felt good, and then a descent down the steep, snowy north side. Hit a valley with a side trail to VVR, but I hiked on north. Big climb, main event, up to Silver Pass. Took me hours. I ran low on energy, got held up looking for safe passage across gigantic rushing creeks, lost my way in snowfields where all the footprints melted away. Final push took me past frozen lakes and up over a pass that was actually a false summit, so I had to keep climbing.
Descent was quick, running and tumbling down the soft snow. Like skiing with sneakers. Hit dirt trail a mile or so past the summit, so fast to hike on real trail! Then the snow covered everything again and I picked my way around trees and boulders down the rest of the mountain.
Crossed another creek and headed back uphill. The trail was snow-free and I could just hike. What a pleasure to hike on trail, even steeply uphill for a mile or more. At the top were more snowfields and I felt my way around another frozen lake. The footprints of hikers in front, always helpful for finding the trail, had mostly melted away. This hidden two miles of trail took a long time to get through. I was short on daylight.
I finally found my way around one lake and then routed down to the second. I set up camp and spent the last hour of daylight eating dinner, stretching, reading. Feeling very peaceful, very grateful to be out here. Didn’t see a single person all day, a miracle.