Day 71: And the Thunder Rolls

June 24, 2017: Hiked Miles 1048.6 to 1066.8 (18.2 total)

Woke up right at 5:00 this morning wide awake. I slept well and it was warm enough to eat breakfast outside. I felt a little lethargic, but once I ate breakfast I felt better. 

We started hiking as the sun had just crested over the mountains.

The air was cool and refreshing and the snow was firmer than normal which made walking a little easier.

This lake we came upon was so still that it made a perfect mirror. 

Today was the first day in the Sierras that we have seen lakes that are completely unfrozen. Some of them are so gorgeous. It makes me wonder how many beautiful lakes we have passed that we didn’t even see because they were iced over. 

Our terrain started to flatten out a bit at times and wind it’s way out of the deep, dark, snowy canyons, so we got to see a lot more trail today than we have thus far.

But don’t worry, we still had plenty of fun in the snow.

We started to hike by some really neat rock formations.

I definitely am starting to feel like I’m getting closer to Northern California.

We crested a ridge and had an awesome view of both sides of the valley. 

It was warm and dry on top so Colton thought it would be a good time to take his microspikes off for a bit. Of course, that’s a good way to guarantee you’ll hit snow. He was slipping and sliding within minutes and back on they went. 

At one point the trail ran into a really steep snow wall. We could see footprints that went down to the dirt to detour it. At the bottom, the footprints disappeared in the sun cups. We couldn’t tell if we should head up or down as the best way to get around the rocks and get back to the trail. I had a feeling we should go up, but kept quiet, and Colton decided to go down. 

We crossed the dirt and then shimmied between an ice wall and a rock wall until we hit a dead end. We climbed to the top of the snow to see if we could go over. We could see our trail across the way with a steep slope of snow between it and us. We could also see everyone else’s footprints up above us that had easily made it down to the trail. We contemplated going back, but even that would be a little sketchy, so Colton decided to see if he could cut steps into the snow. We got our ice axes out and slowly started stepping footholes into the snow. Colton did a good job making good footholes for us and we slowly made it across. We looked back at our little snow wall. At least if someone follows our trail, they’ll have some decent steps now. 

If you look closely you can see our steps going across the middle of the snow and everyone else’s at the top of the snow. 

We hiked until about 12:30 where we stopped to eat lunch at a little stream and were happy to see that we had already hiked almost 13 miles. If we can do 12 miles by 12:00, we’re hiking at a good pace.

After lunch we had some good clear sections of trail and actually were able to keep our spikes off the rest of the day. 

We even passed a dirt road.

Guess we’re not too far from civilization. 

I kept thinking I was hearing people talking or music playing and kept looking around to see where it was coming from. I couldn’t see anyone and thought I was going crazy. But then I caught up to Colton and realized he had music playing on his phone. 

Not going crazy yet!

We crossed over a bunch of streams and lucked out having logs to cross at most of them. This log had a neat cave around it. 

Then we hit Blue Lakes Road. 

I think it’s still closed, judging from all the snow on it. 

We climbed up through the snow and passed a bunch more lakes. 

Not all of them can be gorgeous I suppose.  

We found a good place to camp and were so excited to see that it was only 4:30.

We set up, got water, stretched our legs and backs a ton, and watched the clouds start to roll in like clockwork. 

I had just got in the tent to lay down to start writing my blog when I heard something hit the top of our tent. And then another. After one more, I knew it was raindrops. Colton had wandered off somewhere so I ran around our campsite grabbing everything and throwing it in the tent. Colton ran back and we jumped inside just in time. Even with the rain, the sun was beating on our tent and we layed inside sweating. You can imagine how great that smells after not showering for a week. The raindrops were big, but not too hard and it came and went. We could hear thunder pretty close, but not right overhead so we weren’t too worried about a massive storm.

I checked out my shoes which are definitely starting to go. 

That’s my finger poking through the sides. They say these shoes last around 400-500 miles. I’ve worn them over 800 miles now. Might be time for a new pair. 

We ate dinner in the tent as it continued to sprinkle on and off and thunder away. After dinner we were just laying down when the wind started picking up and all the sudden a huge gust ripped the rainfly out of the stakes in the ground and the whole tent almost bent over sideways on us. We grabbed hold of the rainfly and tried to hold it down so we didn’t get soaked and then ran outside after it let up for a second to pile rocks on top of all the stakes. The kind kept trying to tear the tent down, but the rocks held everything in place.

The wind slowly died down and when we went outside to brush our teeth, we were met with the most gorgeous sunset. 

Hopefully that’s the end of the storm for tonight!

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2 thoughts on “Day 71: And the Thunder Rolls

  1. That was my personal favorite part of the J section, from Ebbet’s pass to Blue lake road. Awesome volcanic ridges and peaks. I wish you had been able to see it in all it’s glory once more snow melts.

    Liked by 1 person

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