Miles walked: 25.7
|ah, back in the mountains|
The sunrise with the moon above was a treat for getting out of camp so early. Within five miles, Ziploc caught up with me. We hiked together for a while sometimes in silence and other times with good conversation.
We hiked past endless rock outcroppings today and views seemed to get better as the day progressed. I stopped to scramble up a few of the interesting looking rocks, including a fun one at the top of our big climb of the day. We had astonishing views over Owens Valley.
Taking advantage of my Colorado lungs and giant calves, I powered past everyone in our group on the long climb up from Death Canyon Creek up almost two thousand feet in elevation to our lunch spot. Ziploc stayed close and we did a short scramble on a rock outcropping before the others arrived. I bounced around the rocks like a talus monkey. After some pictures, and as we were climbing down, the sky roared loudly as an F-16 jet went screaming across the valley no more that 1000 feet from where I was standing. I yelled “Fuck Yeah!!” as it did a barrel roll and disappeared behind more boulders and trees.
Soon Chilly Bin and HoosierDaddy arrived and we all sat in the sun and ate lunch. I recited my bear can hatred poem to them which got a good laugh.
We waited for over an hour hoping to see Opera, Peanut Butter, and Tapeworm, but neither showed up, so we decided to move on to the next water source.
We continued down the trail as I was practicing trekking pole tricks, singing, and occasionally running. For some reason, I had a unusual amount of energy. I started throwing my trekking poles like a spear into dead logs because it was fun. Chilly Bin and HoosierDaddy watched from a distance behind me, probably questioning my sanity as I would sneak up on dead logs using other trees for cover. Then I would spring from my hiding spot and spear a dead log with a Black Diamond trekking pole. It was silliness to the maximum, but having fun is one of the reasons I’m out here.
The miles ticked off quickly, and before I knew it, I was standing in some mud at Diaz Creek filtering water and realizing that we’d already come 19 miles.
Ziploc and I reconvened with HoosierDaddy and Chilly Bin and discussed the plan for the upcoming days, which includes a lot of moving parts.
We’re trying to get to the summit of Mt. Whitney on Opera’s birthday. We are also trying to set ourselves up for climbing up and over Forester Pass early in the day to avoid sloppy snow. We are also trying to accommodate a couple of people (myself and Ziploc) that probably didn’t bring enough food. And I am also trying to meet up with my friend Kate who is doing the JMT. I hope to either see her tomorrow in between Cottonwood Pass and Crabtree Meadows, or possibly the day after at Tyndall Creek Campground. I may end up doing an insanely long day to make that happen.
Ziploc and I communicated the concern that if we stopped to early today that we’d have to do a long day on the day before climbing up Whitney and Forester Pass the following day. Chilly Bin and HoosierDaddy were both exhausted from the back to back big days with lots of elevation gain. Therefore Ziploc and I continued by ourselves, wondering aloud what came of Tapeworm, Opera, and Peanut Butter.
After hiking almost another four miles with about 1000 feet in elevation gain, fatigue finally hit us. We setup camp in a completely vacant valley just past Poison Meadow Spring. We ate dinner together and the food felt like not enough calories to replace the energy I used during today’s 25 miles. After dinner, it cooled down rapidly, so we retired to our respective tents. We then chatted across our vestibules and airdropped pictures to one another. It was cold after the sun went down. We are at 11,000 feet in elevation so I guess that makes sense. I had a bunch of chores to do, which took until after hiker midnight. I also realized that I need to make significant tent repairs soon, or else I’ll be forced to buy a new one. I plan on trying to do these repairs during a long lunch break tomorrow.