I had to get up in the middle of the night for a urination. The sky was amazing. It’s been so cloudy recently that you forget there is a world of stars up there. (I don’t think anything in America will beat the sky in the Himalayas though, we’ll see)
5:30am alarm. It should be easy after 10 hours sleep but I still found it hard to wake up! We were in a bit of a condensation station and being in a valley the sun wasn’t going to reach us for a while so we packed up our stuff wet to dry out later. We had to cross a creek straight away and it was freezing…
By the time I got to the other side my feet were numb, in intense pain and felt like they were burning all at the same time. They took at least a mile to thaw out and my fingers were still painfully cold. In only a couple of miles there was another creek crossing and I took off my shoes and socks and crossed in my camp shoes (I hate walking in wet shoes), not quite as cold this time. Just as I had finished putting on my shoes again Growler came along and tried to cross on some rocks upstream. She dropped her pole and it started coming down the river towards me. I really didn’t want to get my shoes wet but there was no time to take them off. I hesitated a moment too long before wading into the river to retrieve the pole and it sailed past me. Luckily for growler it got trapped behind a rock downstream and she managed to retrieve it!
Onwards with soggy shoes for our first big climb of the day. The mosquitoes were outrageous all day, we were going through humid forests and they were out in their thousands. I now have bites on bites.
When we got to the top we found a place where there were only a few mozzies and we dried out stuff out. It was only 9:30am and it was boiling. It’s set to be a hothot kinda day. We also ate lunch and I had eaten all my snacks by then. We were so hungry!
We then had a long descent and I fell over just before we came to another creek, luckily there was no one around to see, I don’t even know what I tripped over – probably nothing! – I was rolling around like an upturned tortoise! My insoles had dried out a lot when we were drying out our stuff and I had begun to walk my shoes dry so I didn’t want to get them wet again.
After the down came another 1500ft of up to Benson Pass. It was so so hot that our movement was slow. We were averaging about 1 mile an hour!!! We stopped to get water – much more hydration needed today! We crawled our way to the top of the pass and sat under a tree for a while contemplating the huge descent we had next.
We saw Stinger and he had done the miles we had did today AND yesterday since this morning! The man is a machine.
We started our descent and battled the heat and the mosquitoes. 7 miles of downhill, with a little 400ft ascent thrown in the middle, really takes it out of you. I didn’t take that many pictures today because it was impossible to stop for even a second without being surrounded by mozzies.
We had a few log crossings on the way down and on the second to last creek crossing I managed to dunk my dry shoes in the water making them wet again, I was not happy at all. On the log crossing before I walked straight into a branch – the end of it poked in my thigh and I cried out in pain (my legs really are a total mess now!) then I had to cross the river on a log.
We were told by Stinger that Benson lake was beautiful so we decided that would be our camp. And it is beautiful. We are camped on a sandy beach by the lake with the gentle lapping sound of the water.
We saw some deer roam by and we were in our tents by 7:30pm as the mozzies are out and it’s so nice to be horizontal!
My body felt better today (painkillers are a wonderful thing), but the sun drains all your energy so we managed a 16 mile day. In Mammoth we were told that compared to the Sierra this section is easy. Not so people of Mammoth! This section is hard. Just as much elevation gain and loss as the Sierra, but with the heat and the mosquitoes thrown in too!
2 calendar months on the trail today, time is flying!!