Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 20 Pinchot Pass

My body is not moving this morning.  No matter that my mind says: "get up" "you have to move there is another pass ahead", my body demands its rest. And so I surrender to its wisdom, turn over and rest for another hour or so.  Getting up at 7:30 and taking off at 8:30 is not too bad.  Yesterday I came from 12100 feet down to about 8000 and today I have to go back up to 121300. Then again down to 8500 and up again to 12000 and so it will continue all the way to Mount Whitney.  I am getting the hang of it and I often joke with other hikers that it would have been considerate to build bridges between the passes:)

I hike up to Lake Majorie and love being off schedule to everbody else who has headed up over the pass way ahead of me.  The lake is lovely and after a pause I continue up to the pass.  

The landscape is very different, for the first time strong reds and oranges are appearing in the mountains around me.  A friend later calls the mountains Neopolitan icecream with their stripes of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

As I head down, I feel the sun on me and end up burning my legs - in the future I will not wear shorts on the way down' the mountain.  I pass a whole series of lovely lakes, everywhere a pair or trio of hikers has come to rest - either to catch their breath, stay for the night or put their feet in the water.  I am starting to feel the heat and fatigue come on.  Finding shade for a few moments becomes paramount.  And so I rest a few times under whatever tree cover or shrub cover I can find.  When my stomach rumbles, I stop to make a comfort meal of granola and milk which revives me.  I had heard the wood Creek which I am entering now is beautiful and lovely.  It is grand and impressive, however strikes me as a bit desolate.  There are almost no flat areas and lots of landslides, gravel and patches of trees here and there.  I had hoped to find a place for the night within a few miles of the pass but can't find a suitable site.  I explore a site that turns out to be full of marshy mosquito filled areas and little water and am forced to continue.  I wonder if I have to go all the way to the next creek crossing, another 3- 4 miles down the trail.  

And then I spot my perfect site for the night!  A small wooden patch of wonderfulness on a ledge between two steep sections of the trail.  I can see the valley open ahead of me, the stream is accessible beside me and I am protected from wind and weather.  Just as I drop my pack,  a herd of deer comes down the mountain and passes right next to me on the way to the stream.  That settles it.  I put up the tent, lay on a rock to relax my back and shoulders and eventually cook dinner and settle in for the night.  I feel like the queen of the mountain, on my throne in Woodside Creek.  It is a good night with the stars very visible as the moon is now coming up later in the night.  The milky way looks like a highway of light and I can imagine galaxies spinning away out there.

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