June 14, 2017: Hiked alternate route: 12 miles on Kaiser Road to VVR and 5.5 on Goodale Pass Trail (17.5 total)
We started off the morning the best way possible in the Sierras… warm! It got so warm last night that I ditched my socks, beanie, second pair of pants, puffy jacket, and sleeping bag liner. I can’t remember the last time I slept without all of that stuff.
We had an outhouse to use in the morning, a dumpster to throw our garbage in, and a dry tent and shoes. Can it get any better?
We ate breakfast in the tent still because Colton thought it was still a little too cold outside to eat. I think he just loves to curl up in his sleeping bag and eat his oatmeal. Here’s what cooking in your tent looks likes.
As part of the alternate we’re taking we have to walk or hitchhike from Florence Lake, where we’re at, to Edison Lake on a 13-mile road. The road started off fairly nice. We were up high and could look across to all the snowy mountains we would soon be hiking.
I have seriously never seen mosquitoes so bad. We sprayed ourselves and swatted them away and killed them, but we still kept getting attacked. I think eventually we just gave up and realized we were going to be covered in bumps.
Our road wound through the mountains and we found lots of evidence of a high-snow year. Like this abandoned snowmobile.
Colton really wanted to try driving it on the road. I wouldn’t let him, not like it would run anyways.
Our road went down for a long time until it hit this bridge over the San Joaquin River once again.
And whenever you go down, you know where you’re gonna go next. And boy did we go up. And walking up a road is nothing like walking up a trail. Every time we thought we were at the top, I would look up and see more road above us. We started sweating like crazy and were huffing and puffing.
After miles and miles, eventually the road flattened out and we had a chance to catch our breath and breathe.
We were about a mile from the Vermilion Valley Resort when one of the resort workers drove by and gave us a ride the rest of the way. It was only a mile, but after all the road climbing today, we were more than happy to get a ride. The resort (VVR) was just opening due to road closures from the snow. They had a limited store open and had resupply packages available for those who shipped ahead. We were just passing by as part of our detour, so we just stopped to eat our lunch there and chat with other hikers.
We were surprised to see a lot of familiar faces. There were probably 15 hikers in total there, some having stayed for a night or two.
The resort offers all their hikers their first drink for free so Colton and I were happy to chug some Gatorades. We ate lunch and caught up with everyone and made some new friends. The resort offers a cool deal to hikers that they can work in exchange for food and beer so a few hikers were walking around doing different chores.
Most people were staying the night but we decided to get a headstart on our pass we’re climbing tomorrow, Goodale Pass. The trail is 11.6 miles and goes up 3600 feet to put you on top of the pass and then back down to the PCT. So we said goodbye and started hiking.
The first four miles of the trail were clear of snow, but extremely steep. So steep that the entire trail had running water flowing down it and also our favorite thing, mosquitoes! We practically ran through that section just to get away from the little buggers.
We crossed more rivers and streams.
We found a rock outcroping right before a creek and decided to set up camp since it seemed to be the only dry spot we were going to find for awhile. Camping next to a creek always makes for cold, wet nights, but it’s either that or sleep in the snow or mud.
It got chilly quickly so we bundled up and fed our starving bellies. No matter how much I eat now, I’m always hungry an hour later. I always finish a meal and expect to have a food-baby for a belly. But it’s never there. I mean it’s not like I want to look fat, but it would be nice to know that the food I’m eating is actually going somewhere.
Our new dessert after dinner is to make hot cocoa, to help us warm up before bed. So we sipped our cocoa and I loaded up on peanut butter and Reeses Pieces to help fill me up a little. Best dessert ever.
The sun has already gone behind the trees and we’re curled up in our tent and it’s only 8:00 and I’m ready for bed. And we have a nice creek to soothe us to sleep… and hopefully not turn us into icicles.