June 4, 2017
Mile 722.21 – Mile 739.33
We were up and hiking a little before 6 this morning. We had to finish off the last bit of the climb that we started yesterday, and it felt much easier in the morning after a night of rest. Camping at 10,000 feet probably helped us acclimate to the elevation as well. We were climbing over the odd patch of snow, but nothing too serious. Right at the top, around 10,400 feet, the snow got serious, and we crested the hill to find the most amazing view of the snowy mountain range beyond. Definitely a great way to start the day.
We all stopped to put on our microspikes, since the trail was pretty much completely covered in snow. Since it was still early morning, the snow was still hard and frozen, and the microspikes worked their magic perfectly. Traversing across the snow is a lot of fun, so I really enjoyed this morning. We’ll see how I feel about it a month from now. We tried to take a breakfast break, but were instantly swarmed by a cloud of mosquitoes, so it wasn’t super enjoyable. They were terrible for most of the morning. I stopped to get water from a creek and there was literally a cloud of hundreds of them swarming my body. I tried to run down the trail a bit to escape them while filtering my water, but it was no use. The swarm also made for a very unfortunate poo break.
After that, I tried not to stop for a while, because as long as you kept moving, most of them couldn’t find you. But as soon as you stopped, the swarm would return within a couple of minutes. We stopped at another creek to get water, and there were almost no mosquitoes, so we somehow ended up sitting on a rock in the sun for an hour. After that, we only walked another hour before stopping in the shade for lunch. I was feeling pretty lazy, and I’m pretty sure we were there for an hour and a half.
We had a pretty big climb of 1700 feet after lunch. It wasn’t too steep, but it was pretty hot outside so it definitely got me sweating. Climbing above 10,000 feet is when I start feeling the elevation in my lungs. It starts getting harder and harder to catch my breath. I was super happy to reach the top, and we didn’t even have any serious snow, even though we were well above 10,000 feet. After that, it was mostly downhill to camp. We thought we were going to have to go a half mile off trail to get water at a spring, but just before we reached it, we found an awesome stream. It was flowing with the coldest, most delicious water. That’s definitely one of my favourite parts of the Sierras so far.
We set up camp in the woods, with a bit if a view of snowy mountains through the trees. I made a dinner that contained easily over a thousand calories: Mexican rice with ranch flavoured tuna, shoved into tortillas with sriracha mayo. Soooo good. We got to camp super early, so after dinner I actually got to do a short yoga practice, which felt amazing. I really have to try to do that more often. Tomorrow, we’re going over our first real pass to get down into Lone Pine, and I’m pretty excited about it. We should get our first taste of real Sierra snow, and it’ll be a short day into Horseshoe Meadow Campground.