Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 39-Harsh Conditions

Our campsite was better than I thought it was going to be--I slept well enough.  Portrait and I both put on frozen shoes and socks to start the day--that will make you dance to warm back up.  We were actually camped at 11, 300 feet--the same elevation as Mount Taylor--we had decided not to camp on the summit because it was too high.  We spent the morning climbing up to an even higher elevation--it wasn't long before we were over 12,000 feet.  We had our first glimps of the snowy San Jauns.

Portrait taking a snack break.  We're off trail, but climbing slowly back to the divide and above tree level.  
Some past hikers built a wonderful little wind shelter.  We had a second snack here--bad weather moved in over the San Jauns behind me and the temperature dropped drastically as soon as the sun was blocked by clouds.   
We're much too early for swimming--although it is the perfect time to post hole into a hidden alpine pond --which I did around six o'clock.  There is nothing like suddenly finding yourself in water up to your knees, snowshoes sinking into the mucky earth, making it difficult to crawl onto solid snow, to fray already strained nerves.  We'd been graupled on, blown about, postholed up to our knees, lost feeling in all ten toes, and only hiked 10 exhausting miles.  By evening I was teary and ready to call it a night--all we needed to do was find a spot to camp.  No easy task at 12,000 plus feet.  We ended up dropping off the ridge down a snow shoot that Portrait had to coach me down to a small treed area by a mostly frozen lake.  

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