Friday, June 08, 2012

Day 48- Glen Pass

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 lovely.

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.

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