Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 21 Brilliant lakes everywhere

Today I will get to what many say is one of the most beautiful parts of the trail - the Rae Lakes Area. I am going to get there earlier than anticipated which feels good. It puts me in a perfect place to make it for my resupply on August 20th to Kearsage Pass.  My friends Strider and Sharon will meet me on top of the pass between 9 and 10 am to deliver my food and hugs.  Hopefully Indy, Striders dog, will also come.  I can use some more dog energy.

Taking too much time off earlier felt just too iffy and now that I know what and how I can hike, how to get up and over and down passes, how long I need and what works for me, I can take it slow.  The only worry now is - what if my watch battery fails and I don't wake up in time on the 20th.  And to show how much I have been able to put worries aside, without my prompting, my brain tells itself - you always wake up with the sun, so don't worry and the sun rises by 6 am.  Not bad! 

I know that I sent way too much food to Strider and feel bad about her schlepping food up a mountain when she will likely have to take quite a bit back down again but I can't get a message to her. I am sure that that happens to her all the time and I will give all the chocolate to her as compensation.  And I hope that Sharon who had a knee injury will make it up to the Pass.

The weather is still fantastic and taking my time means I can dip into lakes, eat all the time and take naps whenever I feel like it. 

 It's time to document my home and here it is:

I have a great system and everything goes in the same spot every night so I can access my glasses, headlamp, TP and water immediately and my backpack and clothes protect me from the cold and get a chance to air out.

On the way towards the suspension bridge over wood creek I find these flat rock areas that the river runs through and take a nap on them. They are perfectly shaped like hammocks and I can imagine how the water will fill this whole riverbed during the spring melt.

Finally the suspension bridge and lots of hikers getting ready to head up to the lakes.  Many are meeting their friends and family here who have hiked in with food for them from a 15 mile distant trail head.  I get weather updates and continue up the trail, leapfrogging with a father and his two adult sons who provide me with GPS updates on how much altitude I have covered and have yet to go.  One of the sons has hiked almost 200 miles and is in great shape - hiking fast and with ease.  The younger brother keeps up but the Dad is feeling demotivated and worried he might not make it to Whitney at this pace and is holding his sons back.  I don't see them again but hope they were able to end the journey together.  What a memory they would have created.

It ends up a lot farther than I thought but the idea of a rest day keeps me going.  I stop often, eat often and finally arrive at Dollar Lake.  Without giving myself time to think too much I jump into the lake TWICE!  And then I luxuriate in drying off in the sun while loving the vistas.  As I do reconnessance with other hikers, all are in agreement that Rae Lakes is the gem among all of them.  And so I head on via Arrowhead Lake to Rae Lake.  I pass the young man who is the summer ranger and we chat and he gives me good advice on where to camp.  Normally this are is quite crowded as it is only a 2 day hike from a trail head and fishermen love Rae Lake.  I am lucky and am almost alone during the night and completely alone during my rest day.  I scout the area and find my first class property right on the lake with amazing views and manhy rocks and ledges to sit on.  

The rest of my evening is spent on setting up my home for the next 2 days and doing all the usual camp chores.  I have a cup of tea on a rock almost in the middle of the lake and dinner next to my tent on the rock ledge. As I meander along the lake shore, the sun is setting and I stay gazing around until the last of the Alpenglow is waning and the mountains turn to silver and then dark.  It is quiet and the few hikers are all in bed soon, some sleeping under the open sky.  I can't see anyone else which I love.

Dollar Lake and Fin Dome:

 Arrowhead lake:

My campsite with view of Glenn Pass and the Painted Lady:

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