Day 70: A Hard Day in the Snow

June 23, 2017: Hiked Miles 1030.8 to 1048.6 (17.8 total)

Cold morning again. Guess that heat wave didn’t do much for snowy canyons. The snow is slushy even in the morning now so it doesn’t make a huge difference to get up way early so we usually get up between 5:00 and 5:30 and try to start hiking between 6:30 and 7:00. We’ve switched back to cooking instant oatmeal for the Sierras because it’s nice to have hot food in the morning and it helps us feel fuller, so mornings aren’t too rushed to get out of camp. 

The hiking today was not very eventful. There was a lot of slushy snow. A lot of ups and downs. A lot of sidehilling on steep, snowy slopes which meant lots of slipping and slow hiking. I would say we average about two miles an hour in the snow. It can be frustrating. 

We had a little more greenery to look at today. 

 


We had a lot of back and forth from muddy trails to snowbanks.


It would be easiest to have a dirt trail. It would be ok to have a snow trail. But having dirt, snow, dirt, snow is exhausting. You either climb up and down a lot or go our of your way to try and stay on more consistent snow.

When it’s snowy, most of our trail looks like this:

Dirty snow and lots of sun cups to trip over. I think the best part of today was having decent footprints to follow. 

We came across this gate:

Kinda hard to close the gate now. Not that it matters much with the condition of the fence. 

After a long climb we reached a saddle between two peaks and sat on top for a few minutes. 

 At 9300 feet, this should be the highest point we will reach for the rest of California. It’s funny to me that 9300 feet now seems like a low elevation to me. Although, I know we will still have snow for a long time even at lower elevations. In fact, this saddle was perfectly dry, but we could look down on tons of snow on both sides. Colton keeps saying how excited he is to get out of the snow soon. I keep trying to tell him not to get his hopes up.  If anything, snow at lower elevations is probably going up be worse to walk on. 

Colton decided to follow the footprints off the trail and led us into some canyon we weren’t supposed to be in.

Luckily the creek running down the length of the canyon was still snow-covered. Otherwise were would have been floating down. It even turned out to be a little shortcut from a bunch of switchbacks. 

Here’s some weird rocks in the canyon:

Trying to walk down steep, slushy slopes doesn’t work too well. So you usually end up skiing down on your feet even if you try and walk. 

Sometimes you make it down, a lot of times you end up on your butt. It can be fun until you hit a bump. It’s a good balancing exercise. Colton was filming me sliding down a hill today and when I got to the bottom still standing he was disappointed that he hadn’t got a good blooper. I didn’t feel too bad when he turned around to walk and one leg plunged through the snow up to his butt.
We found a nice spot for lunch and let our legs rest. Unfortunately when we got up, my legs had forgot how to function. The rest of the afternoon was a struggle. Those muscles can only work so much in one day.

Janet sent us lots of great snacks and candy in our last care package we picked up. I spent awhile at lunch trying to decide what the best and worst jelly belly flavors are. Best is either a toffee/butterscotch one or one I’m convinced tastes like cookie dough. Worst is either popcorn or some green one with orange spots. It was so gross I don’t even know what it tasted like. Puke most likely. 

We had some pretty views after lunch. 

 

And then we crossed Highway 4 which was completely plowed as far as we could see, but still closed last I heard.

We found a nice clear spot to set up camp on the other side of the highway and relaxed, stretched a lot, and gave each other back and shoulder massages. We even saw a car drive by on the highway. We couldn’t see through the trees if it was a Cal Trans car or not. So the highway might be open. Good thing we didn’t try and sleep on it. 

We tried to dry our socks and shoes out, but of course the clouds kept blocking the sun out. It seems every day right about the time we get to camp, the clouds decide it’s time to do their job and provide some shade. Not while were hiking and sweating our butts off, just in the evening when we want to dry our stuff. But they did make the sky look pretty and we even heard some thunder in the distance. 

We ate dinner. 

And then I stuffed myself with peanut butter and Reeses Pieces. Finally feeling almost full for once.

Now it’s 8:30. The sky is still light. Colton was snoring next to me and just woke up to tell me that he should brush his teeth before he falls asleep. And he’s already back asleep without doing so. I think I’ll just let him sleep.

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6 thoughts on “Day 70: A Hard Day in the Snow

  1. Great pictures, it’s so beautiful up there. I can’t stop reading your blog. I guess pretty soon I will catch up to you and can stop reading. My lap top is acting up and it is freezing every so often.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jenn, I will tell you, your journal makes for the best reading, I have ever done. Maybe cause I love to hike, or maybe because your words bring me along with you, and I could never do it myself. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You really are a great writer Henn. Your sense of humor and wit add to it. Glad you two have gotten out of those dangerous situations safely!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What Harry said…. I started reading at the beginning and I’ve hardly done anything else! Soon, I’ll be “caught up”. A friend of mine did the thru hike last year and I was captivated. His experience was so different than yours due to the crazy amount of snow up there. Another young friend is on the trail now and opted to bypass the Sierra portion until later. Good luck! Wish I could send you some of the “good” jelly bellies!

    Liked by 1 person

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