Started: 07:00 @ MM 799.8 Woods Creek (Elevation 8,532ft)
Finished: 17:15 @ MM 811.8 Kings River Camp (Elevation 10,189ft)
Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,893/-2,236ft
Food: Oatmeal, Cliff Bar, Snickers, Tortilla w/cheese and salami, Trail Mix, Sweet & Sour Chicken w/Rice
Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 4, Days since laundry 4
The night was calm and uneventful. The storm was officially over so we could press on. As eager as I was to get going, the prospect of a 7 mile – 3,000ft climb didn’t exactly fill me with glee. Furthermore, the fresh snow falls promised to make things even tougher than they already were … such joy!
We left early. It was freezing cold, so cold in fact that I had to enlist help to get the silly bear thing open. The bear can is officially impossible to open if you are a bear or a human with cold hands! The day’s hike started with an exciting and fun suspension bridge crossing. After that, everything went uphill and metaphorically downhill.The trail was covered in a deep layer of fresh snow which made it almost impossible to follow. We lost the trail on numerous occasions and had to posthole for miles over endless snowfields. It took over 6 hours to cover the 7 miles to the top of Pinchot Pass. I was officially 100% over the Sierras and the snow. I hated being cold all the time, I hated the snow and I hated having constantly wet feet. Not even the satisfaction of reaching the top could quell the intense disdain I was currentlyfeeling for the trail. My mind was made up … when I reached Mammoth Lakes I would skip up to Reno and bypass the rest of this nightmare!The northern side of Pinchot Pass was thankfully a little easier to navigate. However, in the warm afternoon sun the fresh snow was melting fast and the trail had now become a river. I sloshed my way down the hill, feeling no less despondent about the whole miserable day. The frequent creek crossings were an annoying digression from the continual sloshing. My feet were sodden and I began to grow genuinely concerned about the possibility of developing Trench Foot!Just when I was quite sure that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, we reached the final obstacle of the day … the mighty Kings River. A friend and fellow hiker, Pounder, had almost lost his life in this very river just a few days earlier. I had been dreading this crossing and it looked every bit as horrific as its reputation. Butterfly stomped up and down the bank looking for a safe place to cross. I took my pack off, sat down on a rock and whined about my Trench Foot to anyone who would listen.After some time Butterfly reappeared through the undergrowth with a downstream solution. We all obediently followed. He crossed first and made it look relatively easy … It wasn’t! I almost lost my footing and if Butterfly hadn’t been in the middle of the river to save me, yesterday’s post would probably have been the last. 2Bar also needed to be rescued and Happy Trails was very lucky to escape a 30 yard swim with only dampened pride and soaked kit!
Once we were all across, the most crucial task was then getting a fire going to help everyone dry off and warm up. I was ecstatic that the day was over … 2 passes down and one deadly creek crossed. Just 3 more passes and 2 more notorious creeks to go! Mammoth Lakes couldn’t come a soon enough. I wasn’t ready to quit the trail but I was ready to quit the Sierras. Meanwhile, VVR (the next place to acquire food) was still 67 miles away … food rationing was now officially a thing!