Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 49, Pinchot Pass and Mather Pass

Daily mileage: 23
Mile: about 805-828

Woke up with frozen water but no frost on the sleeping bags, gotta love sleeping under trees. Plus pine cones give you a lovely back massage as you sleep.

I woke up not feeling 100% and was seriously dragging as I headed up towards Pinchot Pass. I told the guys not to worry and that I would see them by siesta and had the day to myself.

Turns out it was a great decision. Solo time can be much needed when you are in a funk, and sitting up on that pass looking out all alone, pretty great.
Finally left the pass, put some music on, wandered down enjoying my super slow pace the whole way.

Today was a big day mile/elevation wise. After Pinchot the trail heads down and then back up to Mather Pass. That's climbing about a thousand feet up to 12104 ft, heading back down two thousand feet and then right back up to 12047 ft and then back down from there. Basically lots of elevation games today.
The approach to Mather Pass was up a long open valley and I definitely was staring at the wrong pass most of the hike. Oh well, where's the fun in knowing exactly where you are going?

I was feeling pretty good but those are some steep switchbacks of boulders up to the top of that pass. Nothing like a rock 3 times your size blocking the trail. Cross your fingers and pray the rockslides were all in winter. Definitely a second slow ascent for me.

Looking down at the trail as I climb. No trees here.

Heading down was no cakewalk either, lots of rocky switchbacks with big patches of snow. Staring down at the trail way far below is just a bit of a mood killer and a sure stress on your knees.

The day was feeling longer and longer after I misread my map and hadn't gone as far as I thought. I had hoped I would run into the cousins and caveman sooner and I was feeling sorry for myself as the descent just kept going. The trail was seeming awful lonely. Yet again timing is everything, rounded a corner and the view opened up.

Chatted with some folks heading up the trail and heard that the guys were stopped just ahead. It was late and that was just what I needed. It was short but at least it was siesta.
Heading down we hit the valley floor and a burn zone, plus our first section of the dreaded downed trees. (big storm, lots of blowdowns this winter, some of the most negative trail gossip/fear mongering topic this year).

Okay so yes, there are downed trees out there but it's really not that bad. You can walk around most of them. Just slows you down, and when you are already stumbling it does get old pretty fast.
Walked farther than I probably should have. I was done a mile or so before we stopped but was just trudging along cursing trees. It was a hard day physically and I am beat. Either way huddled under some nice trees in the hopes that we can avoid any frost, lulled to sleep by the roaring river next to us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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