Day 48 – June 11
Start: mosquitoville, mile 988
End: Highway 108, mile 1019
Miles hiked: 31
Slept at camp with just twig, lead dog, and Guthrie. The rest of the group must have kept going. Mack, not a chance, carrot, and sheriff. Coughee and brainstorm must be half a day ahead of us. Tiny and big sauce left a day earlier than the group as they’re both seeing their girlfriends in Tahoe. So they’re pretty much racing there to see them.
I’m up and out before everyone again. In less than a quarter mile I see Mack, not a chance, sheriff and carrot all camped. Mack is the only one up doing things. I say hi and fight off Mosquitos at 5:30 am to wait for then to pack up. Soon we’re all off. Wading through a boggy trail in many meadows. Not a chance and carrot say that we leave this mosquito hell, and the sierras around mile 1,000. So we hike fast. They’re everywhere swarming us. We run and swat in unison heading north. The trail turns smooth, and we cruise by Dorothy lake, then up and over Dorothy lake pass. The mountains are still granite here, with snow in their crevasses. It’s still the sierras. But looking north, the mountains turn smooth, and the granite that makes the sierras is no longer present.
We hike down past many more beautiful lakes before reaching a nice footbridge where we all stop and eat. The mountains surrounding us are smooth, have vegetation, and gentle connecting ridges. They are dark colored rock, not sure which type as I’m no geologist. But it’s distinctly different from the sierras. There are no more Mosquitos, and the air feels drier than it was just 10 miles back. Looks like the high sierras are done with. We all wave goodbye and head up to Sonora pass. It’s a big hike up, yet we all make good time. We cross many snow fields above treeline, and make it to the top of the ridge quickly.
Looking south I can see the entire sierras. All snow capped, as the northern sides of the mountains hold a lot of snow. It’s a beautiful site, one of my favorite views I’ve had yet. We can see the valley as the green of the pines down below, where we came up from. And looking north, we can see dark mountains with very little snow. We hike the ridge for some time. Steep edges enduring vertigo on both sides. Ridge walking is such an amazing experience. I feel on top of the world. There are 360 views. We can see the sierras, Northern California, the valley to the west, and Nevada to the east. We stay up high, traversing snow, and making our way around the ridges for several miles. I take my time, and the group gets ahead of me. Carrot hangs behind with me and we have a lot of fun hiking this beautiful section. I take a lot of pictures, but now only of carrot, as she’s the only subject I can get in the photos. She’ll have many wonderful pictures of herself for hanging back with me.
Eventually the trail heads down to highway 108. There’s lots of snow, and we glissade down most of the slope (sliding on our butts down the steep snow) skipping many switchbacks and awkward snowfield crossings. We make it to the highway and get picked up in half hour and make it to Bridgeport, where we enjoy pizza and beer.
Now that we are out of the sierras I can finally send my bear bin home. Awesome. It’s heavy, big, and sits funny in my pack. I also send home my climbing gloves, the hexarmor ones I love so much. I wish I could have done more climbing, but the snow stopped many of my efforts. I also send hoke my winter gloves, flip flops (camp shoes). I also send the gopro and memory card from my nice camera to badger, with a ridiculously confusing institution on how to post everything to the blog. Props to badger for doing all of this for me since I don’t have access to a computer. You’ll see all of the pictures and videos go up in the coming weeks when he has time. He’s currently in med school, yet still offered to do all of this for me. Truly a great friend. You the man, badgetown! In all, I ship away 3.5 pounds off of my base weight, yayyy! I then head to the grocery store to buy 3.5 pounds of junk food for the next three days. Sun chips, mtn dew, candy. Don’t judge me.
In all, it was a 31 mile day, and arguably the most beautiful of the trail yet. The change out of the sierras was so cool to see, and happened so quickly. I’m happy for new views, but I’ll surely miss the sierras. Going through them so early was epic. All the snow, the constant ice cold stream crossings, the cold spongy shoes and feet, the alpine lakes and constant flowing water, and the unreal mountain views. It’s the best mountains I’ve ever hiked through, hands down. Cheers to the Sierras!
And on to Northern California!
Once on the ridge looking south back to the sierras. Crazy to think we crossed all of that. Also, the pictures from my phone do not do it justice. Te photos from my nice camera will provide much better detail, and will come shortly.