Day 40, June 2nd?
Start: highland Marie lakes, mile 866
End: below silver pass, mile 887
Miles hiked: 32, including side trip to VVR.

Last night was cold. Our coldest night on the trail. Per usual, I cowboy camped, and for the first time, I woke up cold. It was breezy, and dipped well below freezing. All of our shoes and socks were frozen when we woke up. Our water bottles were completely frozen. It was a chilly morning.

We started by descending, then climbing up bear ridge. Here, Guthrie and I split off from the group to hike to VVR where we had resupplies and gear. It was an 8.6 mile hike down to VVR, and with just the two of us, we cruised! We hiked past lake Edison, which looked about half full. Probably 50ft off it’s normal depth. The drought here has been awful the past two years.

Once at VVR we were greeted by snort, a hiker from 2012. She showed us around and got our boxes. We saw twig and lead dog there, and they joined us for lunch at the grill. They had hiked from Kennedy meadows to VVR without resupply. Crazy. Though it sounded like a giant struggle. It was good to see them again. We had heard on the trail that they had passed us when we went to line pine. Talk about a long haul for them!

After a burger, shake, beer, ice cream, and Oreos, we hit the trail, headed for Goodale pass to reconnect to the pct. We hiked out with Atlas, who I had met in passing at Whitney and Kearsarge pass. It was fun finally getting to know him. Guthrie and I took trail mtn dew’s and chugged them as the trail started climbing steeply. Nearly 4,000 feet of gain later, we were at the top of snowy Goodale pass. It was getting late, so we weren’t post holing quite so much as if we had made it earlier. We followed the contours of the mountains to make our way back to the pct, as the snow fully covered any trail. From several vantage points we could see banner and Ritter peaks. I hope to climb banner if the snow isn’t too bad. I’ve been wanting to for years. I got really excited at the sight of it, so far off in the distance, rising far above the other peaks.

We snapped a few pictures and saw what looked like our group camping at the big lake below silver pass, where we planned to meet tonight. We yelled out to them from far above, and got cheered in the entire way down to the lake they were at. Even after just a half day apart, it was great to see them all. Even more great to have our plans of reconnecting work after the past few blunders. It was a long day, 30+ miles in the sierras is tough. I was exhausted, and still full from the burger. I crawled into my recharging cocoon and fell asleep quickly. Another beautiful day in the sierras! Being out here is a real treat.