Day 71: mile 948.3 to mile 971.2
6.25.18. 22.9 miles.
Wow, today was tough. I woke up sort of iffy since I was super hot last night and ended up taking my pants off and sticking my legs out of my quilt. I was also up for almost 1.5 hours purely scratching mosquito bites and rearranging myself due to being warm, then cold. The first few miles out of camp were nice and easy. Not too many views, but it felt really peaceful walking in the woods early in the morning, listening to the birds and stuff. We got to a meadow that was really nice and reminded me of Long Meadow near Sunrise High Sierra Camp. It’s weird being in Yosemite but it not really feeling like Yosemite. It just felt like some random woods for most of the day.
The first climb of the day totally sucked my energy. It was about 800 ft gain in 1 mile and was just bleh. No views, hot, dusty trail. At least there were no granite steps. Hot Mess & Butters were way ahead of me while I slugged up the mountain. At the top of the climb, we reached Miller Lake which was a really pretty lake, great for swimming bc of the sandy shore. Hot Mess & Butters has already taken a dip by the time I got there. I didn’t really want to swim bc there were lots of mosquitos around. I just got some water to filter and we continued on, just a few more miles until our lunch break at about 12 miles for the day. We miraculously found a spot with minimal mosquitos and other annoying flying bugs and it was like a dream. I got to eat AND relax. Such a treat sometimes.
I wasn’t really looking forward to the afternoon hiking since the elevation profile on guthook’s looked bad. And my suspicions were pretty much confirmed. The climb up to Benson Pass was brutal, even though we’ve done harder passes before. I used to consider it sacrilegious to listen to music/ podcasts, etc. in Yosemite, but I needed it so bad. The top of the pass was pretty, it definitely felt more like Yosemite up there! I wasn’t in the best of moods to enjoy it, plus I knew we still had a decent amount of hiking left in the day, some of which was uphill, so I quickly went down the pass to try to catch up with Hot Mess & Butters.
The ups were annoying today, but the downs were too. Either super steep and sketchy downhill with loose soil or super rocky with big steps or the annoying slightly downhill tiny rock step things that are I guess helpful to stock animals but I either slip down them or have to angle my foot just right to successfully go down them (I did a terrible job at describing that and I have no picture to show). The mosquitos were also just so terrible, especially in the afternoon. You can’t stop to catch your breath without being swarmed. So you keep walking.
We got to our original “must make at least this many miles” campsite, but it was swarming with mosquitos so we tried our luck further down the trail to try to find something decent. We found a pretty good camp with a great view, and we thought there were less mosquitos, but they ALWAYS show up. I wonder how far away they can be and still smell us. It’s so annoying getting to camp and trying to do chores and stuff while being swarmed. Especially in bear country because we can’t do things like eat in our tents! This leads to funny looking dinner scenarios like my below picture.
We’re getting up again and hiking at the same time as today. I think we’ll be camping very close to the Yosemite border, as we want to get to Sonora Pass by Wednesday evening!