Matlock Lake (Off PCT) to mile 802
I woke up early-the sun comes up early these days-and got ready to
leave camp. I was second out after Nightingale. We both stopped at the
water source to drink a half liter-trying to start the day off right.
The climb to the pass felt long, but we did find Opus at the top. On
the way down we talked a little about how to be a better group, but we
didn't come up with any changes.
We took a different trail back to the PCT, so I missed .7 miles.
That doesn't bother me in the least. I hiked 14 bonus miles, so I think
I've made up for the missing .7 miles. The PCT doesn't seem to have the
same attitude about side trails as the AT which is great. As long as
I'm not hitching up parts of the trail I'm happy.
It took a long time to get back to the PCT. I think we stopped for
two snack breaks after the pass. It was nice to get back on the trail
north and start up the second pass of the day.
The trail up Glen Pass was a lot like the other passes so far. The
three passes so far have had really nice trail with fancy stone work and
the alpine lakes and so many little streams. So much water-I think
some of it should move to the desert. It was nice to grab my bottle,
fill it, and drink. I still can't drink, breath, and walk, so this new
method is working pretty well.
We had snack at the top of the pass. There was a bit more of a
breeze than on Forester, but still really pleasant. From the top we
could see that the trail went through a snow field on its way down.
Opus announced he was going to wear his spikes, and Nightingale and I
both said we were going to copy him. We put them on at the edge of the
snow. Opus and I also took out our ice axes and he gave me a mini lesson
before Nightingale and I followed his tracks-Portrait was already off
the snow field.
I think it was a good first use of the ax for me. The steps felt
solid in the snow, and the snow was the perfect firmness. It seemed
helpful to get the feel of the ax in a mostly safe setting. It was a
short patch so before long everything was stowed away. We cut a
switchback to avoid another patch of snow shortly after and near the
bottom of the main climb there was a third patch. The last one I did a
quick glissade-like sledding without the sled-to get to the bottom. It
was either sit and slide down the snow or posthole, and it seemed rocky a
foot below the snow. Sliding down felt safer and it was a lot of fun.
We stopped for lunch on the bank of one of the Rae Lakes. Like a lot
of the lakes here the water was clear, deep, and an almost fake looking
blue. It was a wonderful lunch spot, until the wind picked up and
forced us to walk onwards around the lakes.
The trail kept going down from Glen Pass after lunch. There are more
stream crossing than a few days ago. I haven't gotten my feet wet yet,
but the trail hasn't come to the big fords yet. At mile 800 there was a
suspension bridge over a river-it really got to swaying when I was
halfway across. I stopped to let it calm down before crossing to the
other side. We had snack once everybody was across.
We lingered longer than usual-it was time to go up again. We wanted
to get a few miles of the up out of the way so we'd be closer to the
next pass for the morning. The trail followed a huge river-its thunder
drowned out most other sound. It was beautiful to look at and listen
to. Near our campsite the river tumbled over some high falls. I was
almost too tired to really appreciate the falls, but they really were
Camp is next to the same river. We were supposed to eat and then
keep going, but we bagged it. I was the only one who said I didn't want
to go any further, but nobody augured that we should press on. We did
about 20 miles, but we don't know for sure because we don't have the
mileage for our bonus miles. Tiring day regardless.