Daily Miles: 19
Total Miles: 813
Nice downhill to start the day. We continued to walk past the Rae Lakes for a bit of the early part of the day walking down the canyon where we finished off yesterday.
The end of our downhill walking for the AM came at a nice suspension bridge that we remembered from our John Muir Trail hike in 2014. From there, it was a long 7 miles uphill to Pinchot pass. We hiked up a few miles from the bridge before we took an hour break for lunch. Shortly before lunch, Proton and Dream catcher saw a mother bear and two cubs. Unfortunately, the rest of us didn’t see them.
The last mile and a half of the climb to Pinchot pass had some snowy bits, where SweetPea put on her microspikes, but it was mostly a mix of being in and out of snow.
Neither the ascent or descent of the pass had any particularly treacherous or dangerous sections, but it was slow and arduous at times.
At the top of the pass, we met a hiker that we hadn’t met before and he hiked with us for the afternoon – Purple Rain, who is from British Columbia. He had started in mid April and his time in the desert was much cooler than ours.
Both in the AM and in the afternoon, we had a lot of stream fords, despite the guidebook only mentioning one that we will pass tomorrow. The streams are just so swollen with the extra snow that many that would be simple rock hops in other years are above the knee deep, and flowing quite rapidly. Our feet were wet for most of the day, and the fords at the end of the day made us quite cold as we were setting up camp.
Tonight, we are camped with Mountain Man. Proton, Dream catcher and Purple Rain went up another half miles to a different campsite mentioned in one of the guides. It should be a cool night. We set up one of the hammock tarps as a wind screen to cut down on the breeze blowing through. The sky is clear and the moon is nearing full.
Today was tiring, but it was beautiful with blue skies and decent temps. 20 miles over this terrain seemed like a lot, and we have the same for the next 2 days – hopefully the passes will have more sun exposure and less snow.