Tent site – tent site
24.2 miles 3789ft up. 3115ft down
I went out like a light around 8:30 and I slept like a log. It was super windy when I woke up, I could have been windy all night but I wouldn’t have known. At least it was warm. I thought I could hear rain on my tent but I think it was just the crinkling in the wind. It’s dark at 6am and I have to pack up by the light of my head torch. It was only just light as we got going at 6:30
They were spots of rain on my tent. We seem to be right on the edge of bad weather. I’m just thankful that I didn’t have to pack up a wet tent. It was super windy and I was difficult to tell which way the weather was heading, and the trail doesn’t go in one direction so as we went up the switchbacks one way was blue sky and the other was black clouds.
But eventually the weather moved in and the air smelt like summer rain just before big fat drops began to fall. I put my waterproof jacket on and carried on, the rain didn’t come to much but the jacket was good protection against the wind.
The trail climbed, and I saw some patches of dirt which look like they had been dug around in by something with claws.
The trail continued up into the alpine meadows ski area and it was windy. Really windy. The wind was blowing in from the west, whipping across the open ridge with no let up. All I could do was put my head down and push forwards. It was pulling the snot from my nose and removing all the moisture from my mouth. It battered me continuously for about and hour and a half, and I was just grateful that it wasn’t raining. That would have been really miserable.
Then, I noticed some weather approaching to my right, it was definitely getting closer and it was definitely rain. The sun to my left was creating a rainbow and I was torn between stopping to take photos and running away from the storm. But of course I stopped to take photos and within a few minutes I was being slammed by sideways rain.
I found a tree to shelter under and I put my waterproof trousers and mittens on. It was really cold now. Luckily I got away with only about 15 minutes of rain before I went down the other side of the ridge and the weather cleared up a bit. As I descended further the skies brightened up even more and there was some clear blue above me, but the wind was still ferocious and the waterproofs stayed on.
I waited for Catwater at a stream about 11 miles into the day, I didn’t need water because I had hardly drunk anything. I waited 40 minutes, no sign of her. I hope she hadn’t been blown off the ridge. I couldn’t wait any longer because the clouds had rolled in again and I was getting cold. So I decided to get to Barker Pass and wait there for her. There is a picnic table and an outhouse there.
I saw a few day hikers and one asked me if there had been any snow. I told her it was just rain, and as she passed I wondered if she saw snow in the forecast. I hope not! I got to Barker Pass and sat at the table just as it stared to rain again. I went to take shelter in the pit toilet, then I realised that she might not be able to see me so I went and stood outside on the side sheltered a bit from the wind and rain. I was starting to get a little worried about her but after 25 minutes she arrived shaking her head. She doesn’t like the wind! We took shelter in the pit toilet to eat lunch. It was cold outside so that was keeping the smells at bay.
6 miles until the last water so we got moving again. I had gotten really cold from waiting so I had all my layers on, but within a couple of miles I had taken them all off and I was just in my normal hiking clothes. It was that annoying kind of weather where it’s really hot in the sun but as soon as it goes behind a cloud it’s cold. I felt ok when I woke up this morning, I think the long deep sleep did me good, but now I was starting to feel rough again. My legs ached, but it felt like the bones were aching, all my bones from my pelvis to my toes. It was tough to keep putting on foot in front of the other. Yesterday I slipped on some loose rocks but didn’t think anything of it, but today my left bum cheek hurts a lot. A little muscle strain maybe.
We made it to the lake and the wind was freezing, I quickly put my jacket on and went down with my bottles to fill up. The water was gross. Loads of floaty brown stuff, all churned up by the wind I guess. I still had about quarter of a litre of drinking water so I just picked up one litre from the lake. Catwater came down and stood on a rock which she slipped off and plunged a leg into the water. I laughed at her. What else can you do?! But it is so annoying having a wet foot. It was freezing so I got moving again quickly. 6 more miles to camp.
It was still windy and every time the sun went behind a cloud it was cold, I had my hood up to try and keep warm. But on the plus side we entered the Desolation Wilderness, one of the best wildernesses on the trail. 3 miles in I see Corey, he has hiked in to meet us – we had made a loose plan yesterday but we weren’t sure whether he was going to hike because of the weather. I’m cold so I layer up and when Catwater catches up we look for somewhere to camp. We find a good spot and decide to call it a day, it’s a mile short of our intended spot but we had all had enough. I was done for the day. I felt cold to my bones and all I wanted to do was get in my tent, eat because I was starving (and probably getting a bit hangry) and get in my sleeping bag.
I had pitched my tent, thrown everything inside, changed my clothes and was about to ‘cook’ my dinner before they had finished putting up their tents.
I had mac and cheese for dinner – they never make them cheesy enough – but it was warm and filling. I had chips ahoy for dessert and quickly packed away all my food, after arranging tomorrow’s snacks (I’ll still be hungry even with a whole bag full of snacks!), and I settled into my sleeping bag. It was only 7:15