Location- Near junction to reds Meadow
Elevation- 7,723 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 27.8+ miles
Distance Traveled Total- 906.6
Weather/Temp- clear, 50s-80s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 1
I didn’t catch the ferry boat across the lake until after 10 am. By the time I’d hiked the side trail back to the PCT, it was nearly 11. This was not how you wanted to start a big day.
The late day started off with the snow covered “Silver Pass.” I charged up it easily enough, but when trying to get down the far side, ended up lost for more than an hour. There was no trail anywhere, so I kept trying to follow footprints and make for the lowest spots. Well, every set of footprints I followed, belonged to another previously lost individual. What a clusterf#%k it was. When I tried to use my GPS to find the trail, or cut it off, I wound up running into frozen ponds, or cliffs. Moving around in the slushy snow was exhausting and slow going. By the time I’d finally found the narrow pass that would take me down into the canyon/valley, I’d killed nearly an hour and a half, wasting my energy going nowhere.
I felt a little defeated, and for a while, I made up my mind to camp at the next non-snowy area I came to, and call it a day. It was already mid afternoon, and I barely had even ten miles. I really was down in the dumps.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point during the descent, I decided today was not going to be a loss. I couldn’t have two small days in a row. Making the conscious decision to turn my depressed demeanor and bad luck into positive energy, came in the form of deciding to hike 28 miles into the night, no matter what.
28 miles out of VVR would put me at the short side trail to Red’s Meadow, another fancy campground like VVR, but a little more modern.
After making this decision, the rest was, as they say, history. I hiked the rest of the afternoon, no breaks. I hiked into the early evening, stopped to snack, then continued. I hiked into the night, watched a spectacular sunset, no breaks. I rolled my ankle, not too badly…no breaks (bones or rests). The night was calm, and it was the day after summer solstice; meaning a dazzlingly bright moon in a clear sky. I trudged through the creeks, streams, mud pits, and passed the 900 mile mark before finally reaching the trail junction to Red’s Meadow sometime after 11 pm. More than thirteen nearly consecutive hours of hiking, 28 miles; one bad day turned good.
I can’t wait to eat some real food tomorrow morning, two days in a row!
This solo marathon has been incredible for me. It was something I didn’t think I would enjoy, let alone be able to accomplish in time. It’s turning out to be just the opposite. I’ve once again regained that feeling of “going native” that I got on the AT, completely immersed in my surroundings, and at peace with my predicaments, whatever they may be. I’ve never gone this long without going into a real town, I’m going to be sad when I break that pattern.