Started: 07:00 @ MM 811.8 Kings River Camp (Elevation 10,189ft)
Finished: 17:15 @ MM 832.7 Big Pete Meadow (Elevation 9,250ft)
Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,893/-2,236ft
Food: Oatmeal, Cliff Bar, Snickers, Tortilla w/cheese and salami, Gummi Bears, Beef w/ Broccoli and Rice
Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 5, Days since laundry 5
Once again I was the last to leave camp. Spreadsheet is one of those hikers who likes to get up at 5am and hit the trail 5:30am, stopping for breakfast after the first few miles. I am most definitely NOT one of those hikers. Just as in the real world, I am totally hopeless without caffeine. My morning routine has to include hot oatmeal and coffee, otherwise nothing will go right. This is why I’m always the last to leave.
Despite my poor time keeping, I quickly caught the others and when we reached the snow covered approach to Mather Pass the snow was still nice and solid. I donned my SpiderMan micro spikes and made easy work of the snow covered slopes. Things got a little sketchy amongst the switchbacks, but my confidence was growing and my snow skills improving. However, I was still incredibly slow above 10,000ft!By 10am I was at the top of the pass and very chipper … the gloom of yesterday was now just a fading memory. I ate my Snickers reward and a few Gummi Bears. The northern side of the pass had twice as much snow and was much steeper. The first few hundred feet were very dicey but once things calmed down we were able to glissade large portions of the descent. This saved us a big chunk of time and effort.Once we were below the snow line the trail took an almost vertical line down a sheer rock face. This was the Golden Staircase, an incredible series of switchbacks the cling precariously to the rock face. I was immensely grateful to be going down rather than up! The trail was accompanied by epic waterfalls s the snow felt funnelled down this narrow gorge. The end result was epic hiking amongst breathtaking scenery. My faith in Sierras was slowly being restored.After lunch things flattened out and I found myself on easy trail through forests of pine and across picture perfect meadows. It was inspirational, so inspirational in fact that I cranked out the final 12 miles in a little over 4 hours. It was good to finally get some big miles in, I was beginning to think I couldn’t do it anymore. Everyone tells you that your daily mileage shrinks in the Sierras, but ours had sunken preposterously low. Anymore 8 mile days and I was likely to die of malnutrition before I reached Mammoth Lakes.I reached camp a good hour before the others. I got my house set up and then collected wood for the fire. There were lots of deer in the area around camp and they seemed totally unfazed by my antics. I sat happily all on my own, watching the deer go about there business. What-About, Bivy and the rest of the crew eventually arrived and we all waxed lyrical about the days trails. We’d now crossed 3 passes and there were just 2 more to go … Oh, and a couple of major creek crossings. Nevertheless, everyone agreed that it was one of the most stunning sections of trail. I declared that all was forgiven, and today’s hike was officially my make up sex with the Sierras!