Along Cow Creek(721.4)-Poison Meadow(746.7)
Today’s Mileage: 25.3mi
I woke up an extra 15mins early this morning (4:45am) and packed up quickly so I could keep up with Top Shelf and Blister who always get going just before me. Speed Bump and Pine wake up later, cause they hike faster. I hiked the whole day with Top Shelf and Blister and we took turns leapfrogging and hiking together. We were all quite psyched by the scenery and where we were. We spent most if the day hiking in thin alpine forests and it was great!
I felt much better today and it was nice to hang in with the guys again. The weight felt okay, but not enjoyable. The middle and end of the day had some extended uphill sections and that’s where I felt the weight of my backpack. It would wear on my shoulders and I dig into my waist. During these sections I would repeat two words to myself…Strength and Patience. I had to keep telling myself that the hills were temporary. It is amazing how energized my body feels the second the trail levels out or goes downhill. I just have to be patient and know that the trail will level out or go downhill eventually. When I think of strength, I think of many things…
Before I left for the trail, my friend Jennifer made me a charm that I have strapped to the front of my bag where I can always see it. On one side, it says Protection, Friendship, and Love. One the other, it says Strength. The strength side is the side that tends to face outward most often and it is really motivating to look down and see it there when I need it. I think of strength as both mental and physical. I have definitely looked down at the charm a lot these last two days!
By 3pm, the weight was really wearing on my shoulders and we stopped for a break at 4pm. The three of us were pretty spent. Speed Bump caught up and said he was feeling good and going to move on and possibly still meet us for Mt. Whitney if it works out in a day or so. Pine tends to do lower mileage days with few breaks, so we probably won’t see him again for awhile. We noticed we were one mile from our goal for today and that there was a meadow to camp in about two miles away. We’d have our tents up by 5pm and we love getting done early. Easy peasy! Or so we thought…about half a mile later, Wandering Dot had left us a note to let us know her plans because she was going into Lone Pine. I stopped to write her back and Top Shelf and Blister hiked on. When I finished, I set off for the meadow. I turned the corner and saw this for the next mile and a half…
SNOW! We had gone through patches throughout the day, but nothing as long and deep as this. Since it was the end of the day, the snow was slushy, deep, and slippery. Plenty of slipping, falling, and postholing(when your foot breaks through and your whole leg goes deep into the snow. I was alone and laughing at how ridiculous my exhausted self must look going through this and constantly losing my balance. It was a very tiring end to the day, and we got to camp at 5:30pm. Not bad, but not the relaxing end of the day we had envisioned. We found a dry patch to camp and tomorrow we will get back on the snow in the morning when it is frozen over. We get to use our microspikes and we are looking forward to that! What we aren’t looking forward to is that we will have to put on our wet and very cold shoes tomorrow morning. This is the daily expected routine in the Sierras and we are hopeful that the temps will be above freezing tonight because we’ve heard that the shoes commonly freeze each night and that will be really fun to put on! The good news is that it has been in the 80s during the day, so we’ll warm up eventually. The Sierras are an amazing place and I see these challenges as the price we pay to be able to experience such greatness. Let the fun begin!