Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 21: June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012.

Day: 21    Daily Miles: 38.25   Total Miles: 895.5   Hours Hiking: 15.5   7:25am-10:45pm

Listen to the audio journal above or Download June 14th Audio File Here

Day 21
Selden Pass!

June 14th, about 7pm. I just came over Silver Pass. I'm actually walking in one of the areas that LINT and I in 2009 glissaded down into and, there's no snow. It's so remarkable how different it is. It is one of those really really rare years. But anyways, the sun is getting lower, and I've had a pretty good day actually. I slept in and in 2 miles I hit the 1/3 mark of the PCT. Annnddd, I don't know. The evenings are my favorite time to hike, especially if you get to go over passes because you either get above tree line or are in sparsely treed areas and you have these views that just last. Massive granite mountains that are still all around you. There's water everywhere. I'm constantly jumping over streams. Like right now I'm hopping on rocks to get across a stream. The sunlight is low and makes shadows and contrast and...everything is golden. It's my favorite place in time pretty much. Lake of the Lone Indian is off to my left. I believe Mark {my brother} has gone fishing there. Ya know, a good day. I think a lot of it has to do with sleeping in a little bit really. I had an extra hour of 
Super low Bear Creek crossing.
sleep. Didn't leave until about 7:15 and I'm actually doing pretty good on miles today for the Sierra at least, for what it's worth. I've had to go up basically the equivalent of three passes today already. Not as big a change as my other three pass day, but if I go as far as I hope too, I have to go up again. I'm going down now. So, I'm a bit hungry actually. I'm a bit worried about my weight and if I'm only 1/3 of the way done, what it means for the rest of the trip and how much I've already lost. Hopefully I can keep this up. I've vacillated so much over the last few days, whether I want to continue on or not. The thunderstorms tried to come in today a little bit. They stayed on the east side of the Sierras, I could kind of see them cropping up more to the south. I wish they were more around me so they would block the sun, because my watch said it was 80 degrees today. Which when you're at high altitude and it's 80, it's hot. It just kind of bakes. Enough to melt my candy bars, how about that hot? Granted they are in a black backpack. It's just I love being in the mountains in the evening with low light and big masses of rock and trees, especially being high, so you get the views. It's just been a good day. So part A of June 14th.
Selden Pass 180 degree panorama, north is left.

A few miles after the VVR trail junction.
June 14th, Day 21. Made it to mile 895.5 for a total of 38.5 miles for the day. I stopped at point 0325950E 4156150N. I camped pretty much right next to the Duck Lake pass and trail turn off. So I was close to Mammoth, but not quite to Reds Meadow. You can go over Duck Lake Pass and drop into the ski area and take the bus into town. Which would have been my first technically easy out had I wanted to leave the trail. Lets see, yesterday was a pretty good day actually. I slept in until about...well I got going at about 7:30am, which is about an hour later than most normal times, but I think that actually improved my overall speed and mental clarity and happiness throughout the day. So I got about 7 hours of sleep instead of the 6 that's normal. I did 2 pass and 2 extra other climbs. Lets see, I started off down by the Muir Ranch trail turnoff, probably about 1.5 miles before that. It was pretty flat for a little bit, then climb, climb, climb, climb, climb, climb, climb, climb, climb, up to Selden Pass. Just before getting to the pass itself, I met a woman named 
Descending from Silver Pass.
Silky, who I was chatting with, who's a JMT'er, and said that she was hiking with a few other folks, and they came down, it was actually Joe Anderson from Casa De Luna, a trail angel down in southern California, who is hiking back to kind of go through all the thru-hikers again and experience the JMT. So that was cool, he was really excited to meet me. He knew about me and said that Scott Williamson was hiking again this year and also said that he had hiked with Scott Williamson last year and told him that he'd really like someone to beat his record, whether because he wanted someone to just do it or he wants some motivation to try harder or I don't know what, but that's he told me. So that was a little bit of a boost. Silky was pretty cool actually. I'd like to go hike with her, I'd be fun. She's going the wrong way though, toooo bad. On top of Selden, the mosquitoes started getting bad. I had to deet up for the first time. But it was nice and beautiful, zero snow pretty much. Easy walk down, down, down, down. Then you hit Bear Creek crossing which wasn't bad at all. A little cold, but what do you expect, its pretty much all snow melt still. I got going again, and had to climb up to Silver Pass, which is just another long approach. But beautiful once you get up and out of the trees and it opens up a bit more. The worst part of it is actually that you hit the actual pass then you have to go up higher up this little shoulder because the pass itself cliffs out. It was pretty, I hit that around shoot, I skipped a whole 
On top of Silver Pass!
bunch.... After Bear Creek, you have to go up over this ridge, probably a climb of 1,500-2,000 ft and then drop down into the VVR Valley, Lake Edison, Vermilion Valley Ranch. That was in the afternoon, then you have to do the climb up to Silver Pass. It was steep at first then it grades to be a bit better. I hit silver at about 6 o'clock, maybe 7 o'clock maybe..it's when I did the other recording at. It was beautiful up there. The perfect time to hit passes is the late evening. I plummeted off the back side and made it to Tule Hole kind of around 7:30 {had to be later}, the sun was just giving alpenglow to the tops of the peaks around me, as I did the switchbacks up up up up. The sun was down by the time I got to Virginia lake and was winding through the little isthmus. I met a bunch, about 6-7 thru-hikers camped out a little way past Virginia lake and chatted with them for about 10 minutes. And then I kept going. Just plodding along. My goal was 900 but I only made it to 895.5, but by that time it was already 10:45pm and there was no real reason to keep going. When today I don't actually have to make a bunch of miles. I have to make 38 again, which would put me on top of Donahue 
Wet (snow melt) and callused feet..the horror so far.
pass, and basically leave me at I believe 8-10 miles to get to Tuolumne, which is fine. If I get up early enough and leave at 6, I should be there right around when the store opens, which means I can get my package. If not, then I'll have to wait around until 9 when the post office opens on Saturday. Last night, I don't know, yesterday, I ate my normal stuff and planned it out, but I was just super hungry. For dinner I had an extra dinner because I was arriving a day early, so I had two boxes of Mac N Cheese. And I didn't feel super stuffed after I ate them, which is a hell of a lot of food. I mean damn, I saw my pot full, and had to take a little break between eating it all, probably for a couple minutes, because I was like "ohhh too much cheesiness". This morning I really wasn't even hungry for breakfast, which granted, was fine six hours later. I ate my breakfast and my stomach felt all weird, probably because it was super stuffed still. But we're going to pass Reds Meadow, actually should be approaching mile 900 right about now, lets see what the GPS says...the GPS says, we are ohh about 1/4 mile away from mile 900. That's my goal, that'll be good, get that out of the way. I did the math 
Sunset from Tule Hole.
actually yesterday again, to see whether, or to see what the actual average is for the current record per day is, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was 41.2 miles a day, which I had always thought it was 42. So that means, me being at roughly at 43 miles a day, I'm still a good ways above the record. Especially considering that I'm in the Sierras. So if I can continue on just with the pace, ya know 43, 44, hopefully 45 pace, I will do just fine. I did the math also, that If I kept a 44 mile a day pace or that's my average, that I would finish in 60.5 days. If I do 44.5 or even 45 a day I'll break the 60 day mark. I'll have to make up some miles, but that's a definite possibility. We'll see how far I get today. Hopefully the blow downs will stop at Deer Creek like one of the guys said and I'll have to stop vaulting over these damn downed trees that are EVERYWHERE.

Nearing the top of Silver Pass.