A Wonderful Lighter Day
Beginning Elevation = 8,950
Peak Elevation = 10,700
Ending Elevation = 9, 650
Weather = Sunny except cloudy for few hours early afternoon, high of 60°F, some wind
I woke up at 5:12am this morning. As I turned over to my left I observed a pinkish tint upon the outside of my tent. Intrigued, I unzipped my tent, then the fly, and took a peak outside. Just as I presumed, there were some pinkish purple clouds above the mountaintop reflecting the colors of the sun rising. I didn’t think it would show up much in a photo, so sorry no sun rise photo this time.
In addition to all that, I also observed a definite chill come in when I had opened up the fly. Who knew tents kept warmth in so well, or at least that the super Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL1 does! I could hear dad getting up too. We packed silently for a while, each focusing on our task, but soon began chatting once things were coming together. It was dang cold. Frost on the tents cold that when attempting to dry, came off in small thin sheets. So thankful for my new waterproof gloves!
The night before, talk had been to be ready and start hiking around 6:30am. Dad and I were actually right on time, but it seemed we were the only ones. As we approached Kool-Aid’s tent we found him cooking his breakfast. We were about to set our packs down to wait for others, but decided to just get going to get warm.
We had camped right at the base of an approximately four mile uphill section and true to the maps, we began going up right away. We were feeling quite peppy though and enjoyed viewing all of the gnarly juniper trees. And that truly is the best description we decided. Gnarly, big, twisted, funky trees. We’re big fans of theirs.
Not too far in, we took a break and I felt compelled to scramble up another rock structure. Here’s the view of where we’d come from, up and over the snowy guy yesterday (we didn’t summit, but over the right side about 3/4 way up maybe) and then camped down in the trees below. On the trail at bottom of photo is dad with Snickers and Pop Top who had just caught up to us.
We continued up through the crazy trees and also were able to see out a long ways. Here’s Calzone pondering what’s to come up ahead in the snowy white yonder…
After about 3.7 miles, we reached this overlook of Owens Valley where we stopped for breakfast. I took some more tree pics too along the way.
I had made a mistake when leaving camp in the morning having become used to water being around all the time the past couple days. We were out of it at this point and thus thought we’d try melting and boiling snow (others offered water to us, but this was more fun). Snickers and I also thought of competing in extreme bobsledding down the mountain, but our group wisely talked sense into us.
Soon after breakfast dad and I had two jets fly low overtop of us faster than the speed of sound. Very neat. I tried to get a video when I heard the noise again, but they never came back.
We went a bit higher to the “peak” for the day and I climbed another boulder mass to see this…
It wasn’t a steep decent afterwards, which is what I’d expected, but instead we followed a ridge that had us gradually going down. There was some snow, but I never did put on my micro-spikes. The majority of the time it was patchy piles of snow, which despite being thick, weren’t much of a problem for us.
Here’s dad looking out into the wilderness leaning against a fallen tree’s roots. We thought we could see where the roots had been when the tree had been upright from the various indents in the rocks. Or at least that was our expert interpretation.
Here’s Pop Top trying out her super shades during our lunch stop…
And after lunch we had a fun time practicing various snow/river crossing hiking techniques. Snickers led the river crossing practice (on the downed logs, with the snow being the river) and Kool-Aid taught us various ice/snow slope walking strategies….
Dad and I also tried self arresting with our trekking poles too! We both survived our falls.
We’re hoping at some point to get to practice with our ice axes, but haven’t found a steep enough slippery slope yet. Here’s a few more photos of the day.
And here’s a serious meeting to discuss our tent site for the night, whether to stay or continue further, using our phone app.
We ended up staying and setting up once again in a wide flat expansive forest with unlimited spots for tenting. It was about 3:30pm I believe, quite a bit earlier than what’s been typical. I got dad and I some water down at the stream while he continued the story of Utah Blaine (his Louis La’Amour book)! I think this first photo is of him checking if his tent spot is level…that, or he collapsed for a rest mid-tent set-up.
It was so nice to get into camp early and have some down time to rest and relax. Helps remind us that it can be very enjoyable when we give ourselves a little more time, rather than hike real late and have little time before dark. We had another great dinner together with many laughs and stories.
And before that we had a good chat about plans for ahead. It’s been an interesting dynamic of taking folks who’ve hiked solo for the first 700 miles (for the most part) and putting us together to work collectively. Differing personalities, separate ways of going about the day (when to take breaks and for how long), and just the idea of communicating among each other in general has made for a learning curve. We’re figuring it out though! And all in good spirits!
It was an earlier evening than the night before. Two other groups had arrived as well, one with three hikers and the other with a set of 6-ish. A late solo hiker showed up to camp too. Tomorrow, we look forward to a short walk and then making our way into Lone Pine, CA.