This sums up the last 8 or so days. Getting back on trail, clear skies teased before snow began to fall once again. Finally getting a good view of Kearsarge Pass I understood why this was a recommended trail to get out of the high Sierras.
Continuing the slog through the snow some parts of the trail showed its true beauty and others it’s ugly face.
After a few days of 11,000 passes, wet snow, post holing, lost trail, clear weather, not so clear weather and soggy feet, the passes seamed themselves together as the winter routine became normal and a new enjoyment of it all gave a new stride to the hike.
Then there was Muir Pass standing at 11,973ft and me somewhere around 9,000ft, rain interrupted the day. Ascending, the rain turned to snow and 7-8 miles before Muir, the trail disappeared under the unstable snow. Hours were spent slowly climbing and following other lost hikers post holes and finally making it to the pass using GPS.
Realizing it was too late to head down and a fast approaching storm, I had to make the decision to stay in the hut over night. A few other hikers behind me joined me in the shelter. The hut was warm and with more bodies inside the iced roof began to thaw as water dripped and continued to drip all night. But come morning we found that our decision to stay was the correct one.
At least 15″ of new snow had fallen over night and more in the wind drifts. No tracks to be seen coming or going from the shelter. After a decent night sleep and the bitter cold morning we had nothing else to do but to head down. Straight down. Cutting a new trail and avoiding hidden lakes under the snow, the day turned out to be the first dry day we’ve had in the Sierras besides the Whitney Summit. This was the beginning of a new weather trend, which we are still in and the results were stunning despite the fast melting snow which turned to rivers on the trail.
The real enjoyment of the Sierras are finally being experienced and I am taking advantage of it. Swimming in waterfalls, taking side trips to hot stings and doing low miles and enjoying the ride. I can’t wait to come back.
I am now over 1/3 done with the trail and I’m excited to say I’m loving every minutes of it. Truly. The snow and wetness of the trail does not effect my mood because it adds so much to the uniqueness of my experience and challenges me in a way that I would have not imagined. The trail is ever changing but always beautiful beyond my wildest dreams.
I’m now in Mammoth California after getting off at Reds Meadow Resort at mile 906. Heading into Yosemite soon and planning for some sightseeing there, resupplying continues to be the most challenging part. Over buying and impulse creates for a heavy pack getting back on the trail. Too many tasks and not enough time, I’m forced to again stay in town for a night. Funds are tight but it will get easier as the Sierras are coming to an end and weather continues to improve.
Oh and compliments to the chef at VVR. Remarkable food in a far off place brightens any hikers day and satisfies those cravings for delicous grub on the trail.