Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 65 (7/21) Back on the Horse

This morning seemed like any other morning, except today would be different. Well, different in the fact that it finally was a day like those before I injured myself. I rolled out if camp late - probably close to 9, and made my way towards Muir Trail Ranch. At the junction with the side trail I met a hiker from Idyllwild, and it turns out one of the ladies in his group was originally from Glenview, IL. We chatted for a bit before I went on ahead. I took an early half-lunch break around the 5 mile mark right before a big climb towards Selden Pass. The group passed me while I ate, but I caught them a short 30 minutes later on the uphill section. I finally feel that I have most of my conditioning back as I could power through the climb today with no problems. Its nice to have that engine cranking hard again.

As I neared the plateau at the top our the climb I had a truly unique experience. The trail was flooded through a meadow, and as I crossed I saw small trout take off back into the stream proper. I never have and probably never will again see fish on the trail itself. Kind cool and I chuckled to myself about the strangeness of it. When I came to the top I saw the deep blue Sallie Keyes Lakes, and there was a young boy fishing there who had caught 6 fish so far. A few short strides down I ran into his grandfather who said they were catching dinner for the Muir Ranch. He was landing a good number of fish, so I left him to his work.

Now the real approach to the pass started,  and I climbed past the  partially frozen Heart Lake and up some boulders around patchy snow. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I was looking out at the other side of the mountains and down into the Sallie Keyes lakes. No joke, the hardest part of Selden Pass was believing I was already at the top... The far side was also only patchy snow, and I made great time on the descent. I flew through Rosemarie Meadow and down towards Bear Creek, which also has a reputation for being difficult. I waded out into the chilly water, feeling it rise above my knees and then nearly to my waist. Right as I hit the center, the mosquitos struck, causing me to involuntarily flinch. I regained my composure, waited momentarily, then proceeded to the far bank. The time spent in one spot did allow me the chance to notice that the water level didn't remain constant but rather ebbed and flowed in a very dynamic way, changing depth by at least a few inches over the course of seconds. Intriguing, though I wondered to myself why I would expect a river to have a constant level like a lake would.

On the far side a JMT hiker was camped, and he was planning to cross in the morning. As we chatted a group of 5 hikers came up and prepared to cross. He decided he preferred going with the group, and begged them to wait while he broke camp. I left them to sort it all out... A few miles up I stopped for dinner while being swarmed by mosquitos. I ate with my bug headnet on, lifting it briefly for each bite. Did I ever easy tonight. I knew I would hit VVR tomorrow, so there was no need to ration food. I put down a 12 oz can of spam (1100 cal), a pack of potatoes (600 cal), rice (400 cal), and a snickers (200 cal). The 2,300 calories I consumed in that sitting are more than the average person should eat in a day... After dinner I was re-energized and worked my way up a bit of a climb before finding a good spot to camp. Tomorrow should be an early morning to catch the ferry, so I quickly retired and dropped right to sleep.

Miles Today: 20
Trip Mileage: 874

Photo: Sallie Keyes lakes from Selden Pass

No comments:

Post a Comment