Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 61-Summer Begins at Mile 1000

Willma Lake to Ridge top

It was warm last night so the mosquitoes never went away and as soon as I got out of my tent they were all over me.  I packed up as quick as I could and didn't even eat breakfast before leaving camp.  They were just too bad. And in case I didn't have enough of them in camp the trail went halfway around the lake. Then it crossed a wide shallow river-shoes off which meant more mosquitoes (and it was too early for such things). The water was nice and cold.

About an hour into the hiking day the trail crossed some flat rock and I inhaled my breakfast bar standing with my pack resting on a boulder. It wasn't my most enjoyable breakfast spot. Food doesn't last that long any more-I eat and I'm just as hungry. I had second breakfast not too long after first breakfast while Opus was filtering his water.

The trail went through so swamp along the creek. It was a good thing the trail was flat because to go slow meant mosquito bites.  They clung to my head net even when there was a meager breeze.  It was pretty dreadful. Even with flat trail the hiking felt a little hard, but that was because breaks weren't restful, they were actually the opposite.

Around 10:30 the trail followed the shore of Dorothy Lake-beautiful spot with a massive granite peak framing one side of the lake.  I put my hand in the water and it seemed not cold.  We followed the trail around to a sandy point jutting into the water that had a surprising amount of wind.  Opus and I went wading-it was chilly with a strong breeze.  Nightingale and King Nutella joined us once we were sitting on the bank having snack. They both went fully in the water and reported it was steal your breath cold.

Opus and I left while they were still drying off. For the first time in a couple of days I felt rested after a break. There was a little bit of uphill to a pass and the point where the trail exited Yosemite Park. We joked about leaving our bear canisters at the sign post.  The trail on the north side of the pass seemed to be much more groomed than the trail in the park. It even had a strong enough breeze that I took my head net off.
About a half mile before the 1000 mile mark I started to get real excited. I knew there wasn't going to be trail magic or anything, but I couldn't hardly wait to get there.  It felt like a very concrete measure of what I've been doing.  It turned out to be one of the smallest mile markers that I've seen-just four digits made of stones on a rock. I might have gone past it if Train, Memphis, and Oodie weren't sitting there. We joined them and started in on lunch. Then napped a little in the sun. Collector showed up not long after nap time and seemed a little bemused that were weren't more enthusiastic until we told him we'd been there nearly two hours. Shortly after that Nightingale and King Nutella showed up and it was group photo time. We all set our timers and ran to be in the photo then we did individual photos, and then it was time to hike on.

We passed a much larger rock billboard proclaiming mile 1003-which we all got a chuckle from.  After looking at the maps we decided it was closer to mile 1004 and there would be a creek and footbridge coming up.  We got there a few minutes later and took a second lunch break. When I was almost done my summer sausage and cheese wrap Brian from Detroit Rock City (from way back around mile 200) came and sat down. He caught me up on the adventures he and his wife had. They left a few minutes before us knowing my group would pass them soon.
Which we did, but we only went a couple of miles before stopping again. Opus and I cooked dinner at the last water source for ten miles. I chatted with Rock City while cooking and eating. They were staying at the campsite while we were hiking four more miles to dry camp on top of the ridge.

The climb reminded me very much of the desert, but on a grander scale. The trail was taking us over 10,000 feet It was the same type of slow climb where I could see the trail etched into the side of the mountain.   Even the wind was very much like the desert.  We arrived at the top just before seven.
Train in the cooking circle

The mountains were starting to take on that gold color I love so much. Everybody up there seemed in awe of the place.  The mood was infectious.  It was such a perfect place-there was even a little stone circle about three feet high and four feet around to cook in. I made a perfect pot of hot chocolate (that got cold much too quickly).

The view west was perfect for watching the sun set on the longest day of the year. Everybody was in their bags ready to watch the show when Train convinced us to get up and take some silhouette pictures. We were all in a fit of laughter hamming for the camera.

The sun did set-a fiery orange ball. The end of the longest day, two months on trail, and one thousand miles done. It was almost too much for one day.

1 comment:

  1. Can you explain to us what a bear canister is? Thanks.