Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 63-A Wonderful Life Over the Rainbow

Mile 1032 to mile 1055

It was a cold morning-high 30's-and still very windy. After packing up I had trouble deciding how much clothing to wear: two jackets or one?  I started with two and was warm enough within twenty minutes to take off my insulated jacket and keep the rain jacket to block the wind.

The trail went up into a very exposed ridge side meadow right at second breakfast time-horrible timing. There was no way I was stopping for a break in a cold windy meadow-no matter how hungry. The trail crested the ridge and went down the other side which had some trees. It still wasn't sheltered but the three of us made do. Break was quick though.

The trail was easy walking-I actually stowed my trekking poles so I could put my hands in my pockets. After hiking thousands of miles it felt strange to not have them in my hands, but I adjusted quickly.  I only had them put away for about an hour and a half-my hands were very warm and the trail was getting rockier.

Frost and his ukulele
We stopped on the bank of a stream with another hiker, Frost, for snack and water.  Frost pulled out his ukulele upon request and played for us.  He played the Kinks and Over the Rainbow and a few other songs.  As we hiked on we wondered what it would take to get all of the musical hikers together for a trail concert.

The trail went up from the stream and Portrait was in the lead and quickly out of sight. I stopped a couple of times to look at the view:  peaks with snow patches and bright blue lakes at their base. I could also see where the trail was going:  an exposed meadow and a saddle.  I was hoping lunch would be at the saddle.

Right before the meadow Buster snuck up on Opus and stage whispered that he'd pack out more pie; startling Opus. It was pretty funny (Opus thought so, too).  But Buster didn't have any pie, which made it almost mean.

It was clear lunch wasn't on the saddle once we got there-not unless we wanted to be frozen then blown away. Just minutes down the trail was a much more sheltered place for lunch. Frost joined the four of us and we got him to take out his ukulele again so Buster could sign with him. They did the Wonderful Life/ Over the Rainbow song. It was pretty awesome.

After lunch the trail went down.  It felt like I could see a dozen switchbacks leading to the valley floor. I fell behind a little when I took off the layer I put on at lunch time. It was nice to spend some time hiking with no one in sight ahead or behind me.   The trail was made up of loose pebbles that I seemed to slip on a lot so it was nice to go at my own pace.

Over lunch we talked a little bit about upping the day's mileage so we could get into Tahoe on Monday instead of Tuesday morning. The more I hiked the more I didn't like the idea of doing 26 miles and an equally large day tomorrow.  It just didn't seem possible to get to Tahoe early enough on Monday for it to be worth it.  One thing I noticed while hiking early on is that I get cranky if I can't nero (hike less than 10 miles) into town. While hiking alone near the end of the desert I nero'ed into every town and loved it. Tahoe was still a couple of days away and the very idea of a mid afternoon arrival was making me grumpy (or it could have been the cold, the wind, the fact that I hadn't taken my shoes off once during the day, that I had holes in my socks, or that I was hungry).

I caught up with Opus while he was filtering water at a cascading waterfall. I had a snack and Tahoe seemed in reach again, but the idea vanished as soon as we were hiking again. I just didn't have six more miles in me. We caught up with Portrait and Buster at Ebbitt's Pass. We didn't hike long as a group before stopping to discuss the rest of the night. I felt bad, but I told them I couldn't do six more miles. It was already five and I just didn't have it in me-I felt more tired today than after last night's sleepless night.  They were okay about it-even Opus, who was as low on food as me, was fine stopping at our original goal-which meant no town on Monday.

Our camping spot was a lovely one-it had water and some shelter from the relentless wind. After dinner Portrait and Buster decided to go for a hike to a rock tower not far from camp. We could see tiny figures moving up the rock as the sun did its golden hour thing. It was pretty neat. I was more than happy to get in my bag and be warm once they were out of sight on their way back to camp.

No comments:

Post a Comment