Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 17: June 10, 2012

June 10, 2012.

Day: 17    Daily Miles: 42.25    Total Miles: 747   Hours Hiking: 15.5   6:45am-10:15pm

Listen to the audio journal above or Download June 10th Audio File Here

6 miles out from Kennedy Meadows cg.
Day 17

June 10th, day 17. I stopped at trail mile 473, or 443 rather, fuck, 743! At coordinates 0392373E 4032522N at somewhere right around 11,000 ft. Ooo, yesterday, wow, lets see where to start. I left a little late at about 6:45am from the Kennedy Campground there. The first 15 miles are nice, pretty easy, gentle up. Started off at 6,200 ft and then gradually made your way up to about 8,500 ft. And then they decide to throw you up to 10,000 ft really quickly and it's steep. It's kind of a slap in the face when you just went 15 miles slowly, you know, one of those 'welcome to the Sierras, looks it's really easy....ohh no it's not!' I kinda just went slow for the first part and I knew that elevation was going to be a factor, so as long as you can keep a pace for a while you can do it. I just kinda kept chugging along, chugging along, and after that first climb, there's downhill. Then, there's another climb up to, up this ridge with all these really amazing – looks to be lodgepole and foxtail pines and maybe a couple bristle cones, but I couldn't really tell too well. That climb just keeps going and going. You start at about 9,000 ft and you top out at somewhere in 11,000 ft, but it just kinda winds its way through and up. And by this time I've already done 
The trail goes under the log!
ohh 25 miles and I'm still not used to the elevation. So I had to trudge along there and my midday kind of lull was with me too. So after lunch I was like uggghhh. So I just resupplied at Kennedy Meadows and I've got new shoes and I had to battle them all day for the right fit. I think I got close but I get a quarter sized blister on my right heel, the foot that has had relatively zero problems. There was blood in it, not a whole lot, but I was like 'great...' So, we'll see if I can get that figured out and dialed in for tomorrow. Left foot is pretty happy, even the big scab where the first pair of shoes was rubbing my heel/ankle area is happy. But after that climb, well the climb is not so hard if you were fresh and only doing 20 miles, is really beautiful. You come up to this crest, the ridge and are looking down into the Owen's Valley and lake Owens and you see highway 395 briefly. But everywhere standing around you there are these golden-brown-yellow tree trunks, some gnarled, some straight with these crazy branches coming out – of course the dead ones look the best. They are just studding everywhere between slabs of rock and views in all directions. It's one of those places where you want to come back for photography and just hang out. It's definitely a places I really like. It's very similar to the 
Ridge view down into the Owens Valley.
White Mountains and the bristle cones except for they are mostly gnarly in the way that they go straight up, like they spin and have these weird curls instead of just big curly branches and arms and things and being really squat. These go up to about 30-40ft and I'm assuming they are lodgepoles. You stay in that kind of environment pretty much until you drop down towards Guyot Creek, tomorrow. Lets see, yeah, I got in late {last night}. I wanted to figure out how fast I should go through the Sierras to reach Tuolumne Meadows at an optimal time. So, I figured out that if I could do 42's, which I was hoping to be able to do 40's, to kind of catch up on the miles that
I had not done in the desert to keep my average up around the 60 day mark, that I could do the Sierras in a 

little over 5.5 days, could reach the post office on a Friday in the afternoon and be set. Ya know, haul ass through the Sierras, make up my time and hit the post office at an awesome time. So we'll see, I did manage that 42 today. I did have to night hike today uggggghhhh... for like {3 hours}. It took it out of me a bit. But I made it. The last mile I had to literally count steps to keep myself focused and motivated. I passed over 43 people yesterday. A good ground of 15 or so I passed at about 8:30pm by Diaz Creek. But, ya know, it's just one day after another. Tomorrow is going to be Crabtree meadow, Forester Pass – Forester Pass will be 33 miles into tomorrow, so not super bad, but it would be nice if it were a little earlier. We'll see if we can make up a little time and get there early and get more sleep and acclimate better. Otherwise I'm not doing too bad, really happy I'm in the Sierras. It's really beautiful as expected and there's water everywhere. So I've been drinking my fill, unlike the desert where I was definitely drinking as much as I could, but still definitely conserving. That's all.
Pretty trees on the long ridge traverse before the Horseshoe Meadows cutoff.