30th August
Tentsite to Kearsarge Lakes
8 miles
Total miles: 61.4 miles


The stars last night were incredible. The Milky Way was clearly visible and I tried to take some photos. No idea if they will come out or not (spoiler alert: they didn’t look great). I had my sleeping bag done all the way up and it felt kinda chilly. Just on the cusp really of being too cold. My mild sun stroke didn’t really help things. The guys wanted to get going around 8am so it was a nice lie in for me. 

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My poor lips! I felt like I had lip fillers!
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Sexy, everything about you so sexy…

When we got going I started with my jacket on and buff around my head with my visor and sunglasses ready for when the sun came out. I was so pleased at how light my bag was feeling today too. With only this evenings meal in my bear canister and all the days snacks in my fanny pack there was hardly any food in it. 

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Prepared for every weather

We had an easy 5 miles of downhill to start the day. We left the high alpine and headed back down into the forest. There were some patches of frost. It was a nice easy gentle stroll. Beautiful along Bubbs Creek. After a little break by the river we tackled the 1.4 miles uphill to the junction for bullfrog lake. I stuck behind the guys and Catwater went off ahead. I really wasn’t that bothered about being behind. They kept a great pace which meant I didn’t get out of breath! Plus I had to duck off trail to see a man about a dog and I chose the perfect opportunity as afterwards I just saw a steady stream of people passing us. The higher we got the hotter it got and I dipped my bandana in the stream and threw it around my neck in a bid to cool my blood down. Tom was feeling it too so every stream we crossed I wet his bandana too. Cooling your neck really helps. 

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The aftermath of an avalanche
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Yay for trail crew!

We eventually got to the Junction and it was about midday so we stoped for a lunch break. It was one of those days where it was just too hot to sit in the sun but as soon as you sat in the shade you got cold. So we all kept moving back and forth. I ate my cliff bar for lunch. I looked on jealously at Catwaters cheese bagel. 

We had another couple of miles to do before we got to Kearsarge Lakes so we pushed on. It got hotter and I was having a hard time being in the sun. I just wanted it off my skin. I felt like it was all burning. I dipped my bandana again and hooked it around my visor so it shielded my neck and dripped onto my top. There was nothing I could do about my calves or thighs so they are just burnt I think. I pulled my sleeves down over my hands. I could not wait to get out of the sun. I could have gone ahead of the guys but I could see that Tom was struggling with the heat so I wanted to stay behind to make sure he was ok. 

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We continued on around the lakes until we found a nice spot to camp. We had a little explore around the lakes and then … for the first time ever … I jumped into a lake.

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Oh man it was freezing! It took my breath away but the sensation of cooling down after being so hot all day and getting the dust and grime and sweat and salt off me felt wonderful. Then of course I was shivering for ages trying to warm up in the same sun that was baking me alive just moments before. The reason I don’t like getting in the lakes is that I’m too much of a prude to go in naked and my sports bra takes so long to dry and I don’t like walking in wet things. But this time it was only 2:30pm and I could lay in the sun to dry out, we had all afternoon! 

Tom and Jim jumped in too and it was a great way to relax and spend our last night together on trail.

The only down side to getting in the water is that my skin went as dry as the Sahara and went all white and scaly and crinkly. It was like it had been stripped of all its protection. The backs of my hands have never looked so old!

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I’m getting sores from my trekking poles

We pitched out tents as there was a steady stream of people coming in. This is a popular spot! We saw a ranger and chatted to her for a while. “Have you seen any unusual animal or human activity?” she asked. She thanked us for carrying bear canisters and for pitching our tents on a non grassy surface. 

I sat in my tent for a while with the door open and I didn’t notice that all these teeny tiny little bugs had found their way in and were now in swarms in the corners of my tent. I went on a killing spree and now have bug guts all over my tent. 

I made an effort to get out of my tent and have a sociable dinner on our last night as a group. We went to sit in the sun and boil our water. It was nice for a while, until the sun went down then I was trying to fend off the cold. We chatted probably the most we have done on the trail so far. Always the way. Things start to settle in just as it’s about to be over. Tom made “sushi” with a salmon packet we found on the side of the trail today and some seaweed he had been carrying. And then he shared his chocolate for dessert. So nice! We also got treated to a lovely duet from Jim and Tom!

We were discussing what we were going to do when we get to Independence as there is absolutely nothing there. Just a gas station, so we could maybe get a frozen pizza. Then Tom suggested that he drive us to Lone Pine and we all get a meal together in the Mexican and then he would drive us back to Independence. This was music to my ears. I have been longing for a good meal, even though we’ve only been out for 5 days, and there is a grocery store in Lone Pine so we can stock up on extra resupply. Perfect. I will be dreaming of Mexican food tonight. 

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Eventually it just got too cold and we all got into our sleeping bags around 7pm. My toes were so cold that I knew it was going to be tough to warm them up so I boiled some water and put it in my platypus to make a hot water bottle. Best idea ever. My toes are toasty! 

My lips are still very very sore, and I have a little chafing near the lady parts which is unpleasant. A bit of sunburn and some very dry skin and a few aches and pains, but otherwise doing good. 

 

 

 

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