June 18th, 2021
Mile Marker: 819.4
Miles Hiked Today: 25
We woke up in the middle of the night to another thunderstorm. My tent was laying in an area that could have puddled easily so I made sure all my stuff was off the ground and that my sleeping bag was nicely tucked into my sleeping pad. Then eventually I fell back asleep. Thankfully the storm didn’t stay and the rain didn’t puddle!
We got up early around 5:30 and scurried about packing our bags to avoid getting eaten alive by mosquitos. We had 4 miles of descent and then a long 8 miles up to Pinchot Pass. The descent wasn’t terrible but we had on and off rain and every time we stopped we had a massive amount of mosquitos ready to drink our blood so we had to keep our breaks minimal.
At the bottom of the valley the trail had us cross a very bouncy suspension bridge.
Not going to lie, midway there was a broken piece and I felt my nerves spike. Especially because they asked for one person at a time.
The 8 mile climb to the pass was grueling. We were going from around 8,000 feet back up to 12,000. Needless to say it was slow moving and incredibly hard. Once again, I cannot imagine doing this trail with snow. It would slow us down even more.
The rain eventually let off and the skies opened up. This made me happy because we had a lot of miles to still cover and Brown Sugar loves her sunshine!
Once we were on top of Pinchot Pass, Planner and I found a cozy spot and set up shop. We ate and laid out against the rocks and almost fell asleep. We were pooped and so were most the other hikers that we met coming up the pass. It was just a hard climb.
Eventually Bottleneck and Tide made it up and after some time we felt like it was so strange because we had yet to see everyone that we were near and we hadn’t seen Conrad. It was like everyone was moving extremely slow today.
Side note, look how close this marmot got to us! They truly seem to give zero cares about us humans.
We decided to trudge on after an hour and half. We had another pass to cover. Mathers pass. This climb was only 2,000 feet which didn’t seem as daunting.
We followed the trail down sleepily and then as we were heading back up, we started to get worried. The clouds were becoming ominous looking and none of us wanted to get struck by lightening on an exposed pass.
And we were slowly becoming out of the tree line. So we hiked until the trees were thinning out and decided to wait until Bottleneck and Tide showed up so that we could sit together and decide what to do. It always feels easier to make decisions as a group together. About an hour later they showed up and said they still had yet to see Conrad. Gah!
We were left with no idea what to do. Some of us wanted to hike on, some of us wanted to stay, and some of us wanted to wait till Conrad came and then set up.
We waited until close to 6 and then decided that we needed to move on. The clouds weren’t looking so bad any more, they were actually starting to look the best they had all day and if we continued with our original plan, then we could get into town early in a few days.
We quickly packed up our belongings and I went into mission mode since it was already late. The skies were clear but changed so rapidly it was hard to keep track. I wanted to get up and over the pass before anything ridiculous happened.
So I charged like a mad woman and before I knew it, we had arrived at camp with our “sister crew”. (Lightning, Journey, Starstruck, and Reed) They were missing 2 people from their group (Primetime and Chopper) and we were missing Conrad. We could only hope that those 3 were together. We felt bad leaving but also knew that he knew where we were going and would probably show up late.
I’m so happy the skies have cleared up. I’m just hoping that they will stay that way. The Sierras haven’t been near as fun when we have to constantly worry about the weather when crossing passes. I’m hoping tomorrow it will be nice and we can swim again in all the beautiful lakes we see!
Iz and Oz