Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Day 62: Mile 721.2 - Mile 736.4

We slept surprisingly well in spite of the cold. We woke and broke camp but didn't get on the trail until about 6:30. It is hard for us to figure out how to pack our bags with this giant pony keg of a bear can. The trail continued climbing where it left off and we took it slow and steady. We stopped again at the water source to camel up before climbing some more.

Finally we reached the top and took in the views of the daunting high Sierra while eating snacks. We had 5 more miles to go to the next water source and headed out. The trail descended giving us an array of fabulous views as it went. We wound our way toward Gomez Meadow which was beautifully lined with cobblestone looking granite peaks.

We were getting hungry and pushed on hard to get to the next water source, a spring in a place called Death Canyon. Nice. There we saw Happy Nomad and Butterfly taking a break and for a second I was proud of us that we caught up to them, until Nomad told us he'd broken his foot. Whaaaaat?! It seems he's been having problems for a while and they finally came to a head. He was hobbling his way out via Mulkey Pass which is about 20 miles from where he'd broken his foot. The elevation and grade of the trail alone make that feat impressive. He doesn't want to press his SPOT locator since he can hobble out, he says. We asked if we could carry something or how we could help but they kept saying they had it handled. I felt helpless listening to them and I hope they make it out safe and sound. They're only about eleven solid miles from the pass but those are pretty hard miles. Good luck Happy Nomad and Butterfly.

We bid them goodbye as they started their slow walk up the hill and we hung out longer at the water source. It was really hard to get going and we tried to convince ourselves it was ok for us to stop there for the night but that would only be 9ish miles for the day and that's no bueno. We decided to look at our map and see what our itinerary for this next section. We have 5 days or so of food. We realize we had forgotten to account for summiting Mount Whitney and/or he descent down Kersage Pass. We tried to see if we could stretch our food long enough to bag Whitney but in the end we realized that the PCT is challenge enough. We need to save Whitney for another trip. I feel kind of sad about that but relieved too. This shit is hard. I'm going to have my hands full enough with Forester Pass.

We finally packed up and headed on from the spring, shooting for an unverified water source. It was a gamble but one we were willing to take. It is physically impracticable for me to carry the bear can AND water to dry camp. I just can't do it and hope to keep hiking.

The trail climbed and climbed and we broke the 10k mark. The mountains looked like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland and it was kind of eerie above the treeline. There were huge cumulus clouds floating above casting an interesting light on the Owens Valley far below. Josh and I remarked how we had once been way down there on HWY 395 looking up, wishing we were here and now here we are!

After that brutal climb we arrived at the trail junction and made a beeline down it. The use trail kind of dissolved and we walked up a large green meadow looking for the creek and coral. We found both and were over joyed hat there was water! I set up the tent and josh collected water while we battled the raging Mosquitos. We met up a bit away from the tent where we cooked dinner. Finally my favorite part of the day was here, the part where I get to exchange my shoes and sweat drenched clothes for jim-jams and a sleeping bag.

Right now it's 9:30 and Josh and I are trying to decipher if the noises were hearing are animals or my grumbling tummy. It keeps things interesting. Tomorrow we shoot for Chicken Spring lake which is supposed to be the start of the High Sierra. Wish us luck!

Until tomorrow, goodnight!

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