Day 48 – 6/8/16
Lake Marjorie 808.6 to Little Pete’s Meadow 831.6
Total miles: 23 miles
I slept pretty good last night. Only woke up a couple times which is much better than the several times normally. I woke up around 11 and the inside of my tent was damp from condensation so I opened up my storm doors to get some airflow. When I woke up at 4:30 my tent was mostly dry inside. I packed up my stuff and we were heading towards Mather Pass by 5:15. The pass was still about 8 miles away. Unfortunately my shoes and socks from yesterday were still soaking wet. I put on a dry pair but I didn’t have high hopes for them staying dry long. The trail it’s very wet from the snow melt, plus we constantly have to cross creeks.
By 6:30 we had our first creek crossing and it was very cold. My feet were numb.
A few minutes later we had another crossing. This creek was flowing very fast. We walked upstream looking for a way to cross. There was a fallen tree but it had all the branches still and was wet. Didn’t seem safe. We found a relatively shallow section and crossed. It came up to my thighs. On the other side I was freezing. It was the coldest crossing yet. We had to stop and take off our does and socks and try to warm up our feet. I dried mine off and stuck my gloves on my feet. I was cold to the bone and thought I would never feel warm again.
After 20 minutes of shivering with gloves on my feet we put our cold and soaked shoes and socks back on. We continued on only to have to cross another creek within 10 minutes. This one wasn’t as cold.
We continued on towards Mather Pass. Eventually we reached snow fields and lost the trail. We saw the pass in the distance and decided to head straight towards it over the snow and patches of rock.
As we were crossing I was getting tired and hungry. My stomach would growl and I would feel hungry 10 minutes after eating a bar. I felt I could eat the rest of my food and still feel hungry. I felt bad and it took everything to keep moving forward. Eventually I ran out of food in my pockets and my easily accessed food bag.
The switchbacks were completely covered in snow. We made our way up the snow to where footsteps led to a partially uncovered switchback. By this point I was running completely on fumes. 5 Star and Mad Dog were always ahead of me quite aways. I slowly made it over to them traversing across the snow slope. They were taking a break and I sat down on the trail. I opened my pack and undid the lid of my bear can. I dug out a snickers and it said “cranky.” That’s for sure.
I got up to make our way up knowing the Snickers would only help for 10 minutes. The pass was ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. The switchbacks were covered and so we had to go across switchbacks made by others in the snow. Until there was no switchback and they went straight up. The snow was too soft to for our own. We had to rely on others who had compacted the snow down when they went across.
It took almost an hour to get up to the top. The pass sucked. I was so glad to finally be at the top. I knew it was one of the harder passes but I’m amazed that hikers don’t die going over it. It is almost vertical. I’m not exaggerating how bad it is.
Of course going down was just as bad. Sheer drop. No trail. Just waking in the compacted footsteps of others. Except when the footsteps were completely gone from people glissading or boot sking.
It took an hour to get down. I was beyond tired. Waking on all that white snow with the sun out is like having mirrors all around you reflecting the sun at you. Even with my sun glasses my eyes were starting to hurt and get tired. The snow seemed neverending. All we wanted was a nice shaded spot to have lunch.
Of course finding a shaded spot was almost impossible. We kept going down but only finding small trees. The sun was right over head and that made it difficult.
Finally we found a cluster of trees where we could sit inside them completely shaded. It was very nice. We laid our soaked shoes and socks out on the rocks to dry. Which I should know as a pointless effort since the trail is a cruel mistress and will only have them soaked with a creek crossing within 10 minutes.
I ate some of my food and had about 6 tablespoons of Hershey’s “Nutella.” Which is just sugar and hydroginized oil.
We wanted to get another 10 miles in and it was 2 pm so we booked it down. We dropped quite a bit of altitude going down a lot of steps. Very rough on the knees.
Around 3 we started to level out but still descend in elevation. Here we opened up and put down the miles. About 3.2 mph. Apparently the crappy sugar and oil helps.
Around 4:15 we came to the bottom of our descent for the day and we took a break at a campsite. I ate a few more spoonfuls of the sugar oil. As we are talking I look to the left and see orange. It’s a deer with an orange tracking collar! No more than 30 feet away. Just laying there. Awesome.
We see a campsite 4 miles away on our app and decide to head for it. I start making my way up the slight incline while listening to music and find I have a ton of energy. I’m soon out pacing 5 Star and Mad Dog.
I stop every so often to take pictures and wait for them to catch up. Mad Dog is usually close behind but 5 Star decided to take it easy.
I make it to the campsite and immediately start setting up since it is swarming with mosquitoes. I spray some picardin on me and they leave me alone for the most part. I throw all my stuff in my tent and squash any blood sucking infilitrators. I smite them with unholy retribution.
Only 49 miles to VVR! Two good days of putting in the miles and then a quick morning into VVR. I wonder what they have to eat? At this point I would take the menu, point at it, and say “yes.”
As I’m writing this deer are running through the campground. Hopefully they are not salt crazed.
Well a pregnant doe just licked up where I peed. I can see 7 of them within 20 feet of my tent. Salt crazed they be. Interesting campsite tonight.