6.14.18. 15.3 miles.
Oooff. Such a long, hard day, and the miles don’t show it. I woke up at 4 and was hiking by 5:10 am. LOL didn’t want to get up that early so I told her I’d see her later, and started hiking. I needed to leave early bc I didn’t want a repeat of Forester Pass with the slushy snow on the north side of the pass. I found Hot Mess & Butters in their tent about 20 min later and told them I’d see them soon.
It finally got up to the pass at 6:50ish. It was pretty steep! But the views were amazing. I waited for Hot Mess & Butters at the top since I saw them coming up the switchbacks. We hung out at the top and planned how to go down the pass, still no sign of LOL, so we started descending bc it was cold at the top. The descent wasn’t as sketchy and long as Forester, but it was pretty annoying bc of the snow patches and then rocky patches. I used my microspikes on some of the longer snowfields. I also fell right on my butt on the descent on downhill trail. The loose rocks are so slippery when there’s also sandy-ish trail, and I just ate it. My butt still hurts laying in my tent tonight. Good thing there’s a decent amount of fat there! After getting off the pass, we were welcomed by Rae Lakes, which I have heard of before since it’s a popular backpacking loop in the Sierra! The lakes were absolutely stunning. If I was doing the trail SOBO, I’d definitely camp there before tackling the pass.
Going downhill was really not fast for us today. It took 4 hours to go 8 miles, which is pretty slow. We normally walk at about 2.5 mph! Butters wasn’t feeling well in general, but I had no excuse - I was just not feeling it! We finally got to a lunch spot around noon, took a break for about an hour, got more water at woods creek, and then crossed the suspension bridge that goes over it!
After the bridge, we had a lot of uphill to do. We discussed in town wanting to do Glen and Pinchot on our first day, but Butters & I were just moving so slow. I was moving even slower. The ascent was just killing me, and it was super hot out. Every creek crossing I just stood in the water to cool down. Eventually I got to camp where Hot Mess & Butters arrived just before me, and we have a nice little tarn nearby to get water from. We were pretty beat, and a little bummed we couldn’t make 2 passes today, but we’re 2.75 miles shy of Pinchot, and we have to do Pinchot and Mather tomorrow, and try to get as far as possible after Mather so we set up well for Muir.
These Sierra passes are no joke. I was in a pretty bad mood during our afternoon climb, bitching in my mind about the horrible, tall, granite steps, and the lack of shade even though there were trees, and how we weren’t even in a pretty section of the Sierra at the moment bc of all the down trees and stuff. I was much happier once I got to camp and realized we’d be staying there and it was 4:30! I do enjoy getting to camp early, and I got everything set up, and dinner made, and organized my things, and got into bed at 6:15! Hopefully I’ll get some good sleep tonight, bc were waking at 4 am again to get Pinchot done!
I’m a little sad bc LOL never caught up/ showed up, even though she would only be an hour behind. She knew about our plan to attempt 2 passes, so hopefully she’s just a little behind us and will wake up early. It’s hard to do these passes if you’re not an early bird, because once it starts getting warm/ the sun hits the snow, it starts to melt and makes hiking on the snow so much harder.
Despite having a hard day, and feeling not so accomplished by the lack of miles, we finally hit mile 800! The 30 extra non-PCT miles made it take forever to hit this milestone, it feels like.