Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 18: June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012.

Day: 18    Daily Miles: 40     Total Miles: 787     Hours Hiking: 16.5    6:25am-11:05pm

Listen to the audio journal above or Download June 11th Audio File Here

Day 18

June 11th. This is just a little note. I camped up by Poison Meadow, almost right at the saddle/crest where it starts. This morning I woke up early at about 4:50am or so and looked out. Last night I settled down, ya know I can't see anything it's dark and I couldn't see anything it was about 10:10pm or so. But I managed to pick a beautiful spot next to this big foxtail pine that was half dead. This morning when I woke up for the first time, I was looking due East and the sky was just this fiery orange-red on the horizon with all of these stumpy gnarly trees silhouetted, and it was really nice....but I went back to sleep. I told myself to take a photo, but, nah.... I wake up to my alarm about 10 minutes later and the same thing is going on, I go back to sleep.. I woke up again at about 5:25am or so and the sun had just kind 
Entering the Sierra National Parks!
of come up and it was rimming/haloing all these trees in this yellow-golden light, ohh it was sooo beautiful. Then I look behind me and all of the already gold-yellow-brown tree trunks were just on fire with this color. And I'm sitting surrounded by all these trees, the meadow probably 100 yards down to the left, the north. So the light is just creeping in, the grass is super bright green, and it was just a great way to wake up in the morning, even though I did go back to sleep for another 20 minutes {Haha}. It was a good morning, a good way to wake up compared to the way that I arrived last night, I was like 'ugggghhh', almost hating life. So, the silver lining, there it is. I'm probably 5 or 6 miles into hiking today overlooking this massive valley with lower tree studded hills off to the west. I'm up on the side of a ridge parallel to it that's studded with all these yellowish-brown-orange tree stumps and snags and stuff. It's just been a nice morning. I just passed Chicken Spring Lake at about 11,500 ft hence the heavy breathing, even here walking where it's fairly level. But in the sandy soil it takes a bit to hike and talk. But yeah, Forester Pass is coming up and Crabtree Meadows, so we'll make sure to hit those and see what we can do today.
Cottonwood Pass Trail Junction 180 degree panorama.

The basin west of Crabtree Meadows
June 11th, Day 18. I went for my second day in the Sierras. I accomplished 40 miles on the nose and I stopped Vidette Meadows, just after Forester Pass – about 6 miles past. - at point 0374476E 4069086N. So lets see here, umm, I don't even remember where the hell I stopped yesterday....(laughs) Oh yeah, I stopped at the beautiful umm trees... Lets see, a recap, umm... The morning was really pretty so I went slow, taking lots and lots of photos of the pretty trees. By about midday, I knew I was behind by at least an hour, somewhere about 3-6 miles. Annd I umm, I'm, this is really disjointed today.... So I went through the trees. By Chicken Springs Lake there were about 10 people camped out there. I plodded along, not too terribly hard, then I came down to Rock Creek and had a terrible climb up to Mt. Guyot. It's just long and steep and you're at elevation and you have to gain all that you just lost to get down to the creek. Then it levels out for a little bit and you have 
Creek crossing at Crabtree Meadows.
to do it again, climb to the ridge. About a 1/3 way up the ridge, I got a spurt of energy, or, I don't know, something kicked in and I hauled up the rest of it, which was awesome. I wasn't going to say no to that. After that I was kinda zoned out for a while. I hate that feeling, it's this zombie zone. I know I'm walking, but I....I just can't explain it. Your eyes work, everything works, it's just you're in some kind of haze or a fog and you can't get out of it. I have found that counting steps does kind of bring me out of it. It usually happens when the trail is pretty routine and not difficult, where you don't have to really choose where you're stepping and things like that. Especially when you're listening to music, you're just gone. But I made it atop there and dropped down into Crabtree Meadows, which was pretty much empty. The last time I was there it was frickin' packed with people, granted we did arrived towards the evening, and I arrived around 1pm. I met a girl called Birthday Girl, some of her friends were up climbing Whitney, but she's moving on because
Looking S on the Big Horn Plateau.
she's low on food. Lets see, a little way after I stopped and had some lunch in a big meadow with some beautiful views. I kept pushing because I knew I had to make it over Forester to try and make my miles. So, ups and downs, ups and downs. I finally made it to the Big Horn Plateau, which was spectacular as normal. I camped there in 2009. I dropped down to Tyndall Creek and there was 5 miles from there to Forester which wasn't too bad. Just a gentle up, and yeah, it was beautiful because you're above tree line pretty much at that point and the snow... Oh my goodness, NO SNOW. The first snow I hit on Forester was literally at the base of the switchbacks and it was only about 15 ft and melting fast. I pushed up the switchbacks, totally out of breath as you'd expect. I hit the top at about 7:30pm and the sun was just casting the most beautiful alpenglow on the tips of the mountains on the south side. The valley on the north side was almost completely
Approaching Forster Pass - offcenter left low point.
 light still. So it was super spectacular. I'm so glad I was up there at that time. I hung out there for a little bit and took a bunch of photos and started my way down. There was finally more snow, but by now means, like 5% of what was there in 2009. About a couple hundred feet here or there that I had to cross. But nothing! I actually wish there was more snow, because walking all the switchbacks, on the rocks and on all the terribleness, was, I feel slower actually than walking on snow or even postholing. Because then you could at least go straight and go down steeper things versus the trail and switchbacks that meander frickin' everywhere. The rocks weren't very pleasant, because earlier in the day, actually the night before, my left foot, between my little toe and the next toe, a crack, split, cut or whatever opened up, about ¾ inches long. At first I thought the pain that was coming from there was that, but realized that, that didn't hurt at all and there seems to be 
Descending Forester Pass at sunset.
a blister or something realllly deep under that spot. I managed to lance it, one little pocket of it and some kind of whitish fluid came out. I don't think it's infected and I'm not sure how it would ever be infected. But it's SUPER painful. Ya know the rocks, if you hit them in the right spot you just wince in pain. It was getting dark, I hiked until 11pm. I got the flashlight out, just going down switchbacks, finally into the trees, then to the bottom of the valley and made it to where I camped next to the bear box. There seemed to be about 4 or 5 other people stashed in the woods around there, probably because it's only a few miles to the Kearsarge Trail to take you to Onion Valley to resupply. So, we'll see about this foot, because it sucks. It could be a deal breaker if it doesn't get better. I'll have to keep looking at it and determine how well I can walk on it because it is definitely hampering me.
Approaching Forester Pass(out of sight left side) in the evening light 180 degree panorama.