June 11, 2017: Hiked 11.7 miles on the Bishop Pass Trail and PCT miles 831.0 to 833.3 (14.0 total)
When the alarm went off this morning, neither of us wanted to get up. I think the lack of sleep for the past few days is finally catching up to us. We layed around for a bit and probably would have slept there all day if we could have. But we were camped in a parking lot. So we forced ourselves up. I ran to the outhouse and yelped when I sat down on the freezing cold toilet. The wind was howling and we knew we were in for a cold day.
We ate our pastries that we had bought yesterday in our tent. One of mine was a chocolate muffin. It was so dark, I can’t even imagine how much chocolate was in it. It was definitely the best one I’ve ever had.
We forced ourselves out of our tent to pack up and my hands were instantly numb even with gloves on. We started hiking and it felt like we had never hiked before. My pack felt like it weighed a hundred pounds, my legs didn’t want to move, and I had no energy. Even breathing felt hard. We trudged up the hill with the wind trying to whip the skin right off our faces. We knew what we had in store for us since we had already climbed this pass from the other side to get into Bishop. I think that made it even harder, knowing we had a long climb before us.
It was crazy how much snow had melted in just five days. Tons of rocks were uncovered that hadn’t been before and the lakes were all starting to melt rapidly. Of course the trail was still covered in snow. Can’t make it too easy.
We climbed and climbed and made it to the top where the wind was whipping even harder. It was funny to see all the chutes that we had made glissading were still there. Apparently some other people have been getting some use out of them.
We found some rocks out of the wind and sat on top for a few minutes to catch our breath and look back on where we had come from.
Then we braved the wind again and started our trek down. We crossed over a massive snow field and then dropped back down a steep mountain down to the PCT. We decided to try and skip the treacherous river crossing this time and stuck to rock-hopping down one side of the mountain. This kept us much dryer, but definitely made for some sore ankles. The clouds started rolling in our way down and looked really neat.
We made our way down to where we had camped the night before summitting Bishop Pass and it felt like home. We sat down to eat lunch and hopefully warm up but the clouds were insistent on blocking out the sun. Our lunch break didn’t last too long since we were so cold and we decided we should get a move on before this storm developed.
So back on the PCT we went. We were amazed at how clear the trail was…. for a few minutes. Then it was back to snow hopping. Even with the cold weather, the snow had started melting and it made for some slow hiking. Between the snow, the multiple stream crossings, and having to navigate around tons of downed trees, we had a slow, tiring afternoon. We did run into three other guys who were setting up camp and were so excited to see that we weren’t the only ones out here.
It started to snow decently hard so we decided we should start looking for a camping spot for the night before we got stuck in a blizzard. After hiking ahead and not finding anything dry, we went back a little ways to the flattest, dryest area we had seen and quickly set up. Sleeping on dry ground compared to snow makes all the difference, even if it means backtracking a little. We set up our tent as fast as we could to try and keep the snow out and got inside to get out of our wet clothes and try and warm up.
We were so exhausted and cold. We read and blogged and actually fell asleep for a little bit. I didn’t want to ever get up but we had to eat before it got dark and really cold. We made our Mountain House lasagna dinners from Kjerstin and had hot cocoa and snacks for dessert. Eating helped to warm us up a bit, but then we got out to brush our teeth and were so cold again. I filled up with water in the creek and when I pulled my hand out I thought it was going to fall off it was so cold. It took at least five minutes to stop stinging. We’re going to try to go to bed early and catch up on sleep. Plus it’s too cold to do anything else.