Day 66: Donahue Pass

June 19, 2017: Hiked Miles 919.0 to 936.0 (17.0 total)

After not getting to bed until 10:00 last night, the morning came way too quickly. But we woke up warm. We only had a light sprinkle for a few minutes early this morning and the dry pine needles and duff we had put underneath our tent’s footprint helped keep the tent very dry.  Of course our shoes and socks were still wet. No surprise there. 

It was another beautiful sunrise over the mountains. 

We ate breakfast, but Colton had a bad headache so he laid down for a bit after that. We got hiking around 7:00 and instantly hit the snow.  The morning was long and uphill and the trail was nowhere to be seen so we had a lot of winding through trees and around mountains.

We passed a southbound section hiker who told us he was going about 6-7 miles a day. I don’t know if I was jealous of him or felt bad for him. 

We passed by beautiful creeks and multiple lakes. 

We made our way over Island Pass at one point, but it was so subtle we didn’t even know we were over it until we were going down the other side. 

And then we started the long haul up to Donahue Pass.

While not nearly as steep as the other passes we’ve done, it’s long and exhausting. Especially hitting in midday when the snow is slushy and you can’t get any traction climbing. We finally made it to the top and ran into a few southbound JMT (John Muir Trail) hikers who were camped out on top eating lunch. 

We spent a while talking with them and drying our feet out. They told us how easy it was to get a JMT permit this year. They said normally you have to camp out the night before to get one and they just walked into the office midday and got one. They also said that everyone is Yosemite was warning them not to attempt the trail and the park ranger even told them there’s no way they would complete it this year because it was too risky. We reassured them that they could do it and we had heard the same thing.

Anyways, after we chatted with the guys for a bit, we enjoyed sliding down the other side of the mountain. We made it down to a creek and found a nice lunch spot. We were famished after our tiring morning and I had to remind myself not to eat all my food. We dried out our shoes and socks which was completely pointless because they were soaked from the snow within five minutes of starting out again. 

We ran into a Korean southbound JMT hiker who hardly knew any English and only had an old-school fold-out paper map of the Sierras which barely showed the trail in it. I really hope he makes it. 

We passed another couple JMT hikers who had packs almost as big as me. I am really starting to worry that some of these JMTers might not know what they’re getting themselves into. 

We crossed about a million creeks on the way down and tons of waterfalls. 

We slipped and slid down until we ran out of snow. 

And then we walked on the trail that was basically a creek and jumped and crossed over a million more streams. 

It seems like water is just seeping out of every ounce of these mountains. 

We finally made it down to the valley which had a gorgeous meadow and lots of streams running into it. 

We had an awesome trail for a bit. 

But all the rivers and creeks are so swollen that most of it was submerged. 

We saw tons of deer. 

Colton was in heaven. 

And had there’s prettiest views the whole way to our campsite. 

Our feet were drenched by the time we got there and it was already almost 6:00 and the sun was trying to hide in the trees and behind the mountains, so we quickly set our socks and shoes out to hopefully dry a bit. We found a nice flat spot for the tent and got busy eating dinner and killing mosquitos. Now we’re laying in our tent and I’m already hungry again. We’re gonna have to start hunting some of those deer we’re seeing if our hunger keeps up like this.

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