Friday, June 26, 2009

June 19th - Day 52

"Inside our tent here at sub-11,000 feet, 2 1/2 miles from Pinchot Pass, I feel safe. However, for most of the last 2 days, I haven't. This John Muir Trail is no joke. The crazy ascents and descents, the passes, the fords. It's all very hard and scary at times. After our 3rd and last ford after Woods Creek, Emily was shaking and on the verge of tears. The fords don't scare me as much, but the snow on the passes does. We have our ice axes, and carry them properly, but still the thought of slipping is always on my mind. And then of course, post-holing is always a possibility, which I hate, and since I gouged my leg on the rock, I'm super nervous about doing it again. All in all, I just don't feel like I belong in this wilderness, that mother nature is a stronger force than I realized. I suppose my fear of death is pretty strong.

Now, in realizing that afternoons are tougher - softer snow, more snowmelt, raging rivers and creeks, more dangerous fords - we have decided to have a go at starting earlier, say hike 6 to 6 instead of 8 to 8 maybe. The alarm is set for 5am tomorrow. I should also mention that this year we've heard is tough. Although it was a dry year, the Sierra apparently received much late snow. June storms that dumped a lot of snow. And that makes for very hard hiking through here.

So, to recap the day, we began at 8, reached Glen Pass by 10:30, and started the descent shortly thereafter with Good Spot and Wonka, a thru-hiking couple we met this morning. Once we got down and out of the snow, it was smooth sailing down to 8,500 feet at Woods Creek. We passed numerous lakes, known as Rae Lakes, and broke for lunch next to Dollar Lake. We did have a hairy ford though, after lunch, where we had to don the Crocs. The mosquitoes here were relentless too, so as we were putting our boots back on, we killed dozens that were landing on our legs, eager for our blood. A lot of hikers were out today, being Friday I suppose, which made it not so lonely-feeling. Yes the Sierra is beautiful, but it makes me a bit homesick. Great weather today though, so that was good. 15.0 miles hiked today."


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