Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kearsarge Pass - Mile 790.9

We woke and broke camp quickly as the mosquito were already out in force. We climbed toward the top of Kearsarge Pass slowly, and for about a mile I kept feeling like we were going the wrong way. I consulted my maps and apps and they all said we were headed toward the top but I still felt like I was back tracking. We reached the top of the pass and spent a half hour or so at the top looking for Pillsbury's lost cell phone. We searched and searched but it did not turn up.

 We headed down the pass taking the high route and stopped for water and second breakfast at a small creek. Our next stop was to be Charlotte Lake which is a half mile off the PCT to look for our other friends lost wedding ring. We reached the junction and began our descent toward Charlotte Lake. The lake was amazingly beautiful and we walked along it for some time on a scavenger hunt for a pair of Knaack tool boxes that marked the area where his ring was lost. We found the boxes without much issue based on his directions and went about searching every rock in the vacinity for his ring. After about two hours we called it quits, ate and headed back out toward the trail. The water looked so inviting on such a hot day, all I wanted to do was go swimming for the rest of the afternoon but felt like we needed to press on.

We climbed out of Charlotte Lake area and continued to climb on the PCT toward Glen Pass. The trail was not too steep but it was a long, slow burn up toward 12,000 feet and I was very slow with the elevation. We passed thru a narrow moraine littered with alpine lakes and it was beautiful but so, so exhausting. We stopped on a rock and chatted with a couple of exhausted JMT hikers on their way up who said the top of the pass was just a short distance away. We resumed our trudge following the JMT'ers and the trail topped out where I thought the top of the pass was. Well, that wasn't the top. Josh and I groaned at the sheer wall that stood in front of us that was Glen Pass. "I thought THAT was the top." Josh said as he pointed. "Yeah, me too." I gasped. 
Most days at these elevations I feel like Stevie from the T.V. show Malcolm in the Middle. I...[gasp][gasp][gasp]...this...

Today was no different except that I was super nauseous. I knew I needed to eat but I couldn't get anything down. We hiked on for a short distance and watched the others ascend the never ending switchbacks on the vertical scree lined wall and I cried a little. I thought to myself: Why the fuck is this so hard? Why can't I just hike like everyone else? They seem to do it effortlessly! After a bit watching the others disappear over the pass Josh suggested we camp. I agreed knowing it would be a long, tear filled climb over the pass if I were to continue now. We back tracked to a small flat spot under a tree that was sheltered from the wind. We set up camp, ate dinner and admired the surrounding lakes until the swarming bugs drove us to the tent.

Tomorrow, I'll get that pass. Tomorrow I'll be aclimated. Right?

Until then, Goodnight

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