Today's miles: 14
Total miles: 814
All of us in camp slept until 8:30, though this was still "early" for Papa Bear. We ate breakfast together, broke camp, and headed out. Crossing the suspension bridge was scarier than anticipated because you, your pack, the water, and the bridge were all moving independently of each other, and it caused a strange sort of vertigo.
We only walked one mile before we discovered a cool waterfall river that was careening over a flat stretch of smooth rock. It looked as though you could ride it down like a slide. It was huge and wonderful, so we threw our packs off and played beside the river. Dog started throwing things into the river and watching them slide down, first sticks and small rocks, but later he graduated to tree logs and large boulders. The boys got really into it and it was funny to watch them running around and throwing things in the waterfall like little boys.
We hiked on and I hiked for a while with Starfox, Boulder and Scooter. We had a long, seven mile uphill climb today to reach Pinchot Pass, and the uphill seemed like it would never end.We took a couple of snack breaks with Papa Bear and finally made it to the top of the pass at 2pm. There was a nice little rocks wall perfect for sitting behind to block the wind, so we all piled behind it, talking and having lunch while we cheered on our hiker friends who reached the top. Soon the whole Chain Gang was there, plus the four of us, Starfox, Chik-Chak and Papa Bear. While we ate, Starfox pulled out some info sheets that he had bought in Bishop from the BLM. They detailed the animals, birds, trees, and plant life that you could find in the Sierras. As he put it: "we spend more time out here than anyone, but we don't learn anything!"
I agreed. I was interested to learn what trees and animals I saw every day, since I could never name them. It was fun reading the sheets and memorizing the birds, plants and trees.
Starfox said, "everyone feel smarter now? Good."
Clockwise from bottom left: Starfox, Bramble, Honey Bunny, Sansei, Rotisserie, Dance Party, Scooter, Dog, Boulder
Clockwise from top left: Starfox, Sunshine, Chik-Chak, Papa Bear, Dog
Sansei and Rotisserie
After an hour we continued our hike down the backside of Pinchot Pass. After all, it was 3pm and we had only gone seven miles today. What a change the Sierras were! In the desert it was common to do ten miles before 10:00 am, but the long ascents up mountain passes were much more grueling here, and so our mileage was slower. The scenery was certainly much more beautiful, though, so it was hard to want to move faster through it.
Rotisserie and Bramble
This is what happens when you let Dog borrow your camera.
We looked out over a series of alpine lakes as we descended Pinchot, and soon we were back in lower elevations and stopped for dinner at 6:00 near a river crossing. Papa Bear and Starfox joined us and then we continued another four miles, trying to get as close as we could to Mather Pass so we wouldn't have such a long ascent tomorrow. The Chain Gang and Papa Bear stopped about a mile before we did. Rotisserie, Sansei, Katie and I found a lovely campsite with a great view of the pass. We made hot tea before bed and watched the sun set over the mountains.
We joked around before bed, as usual, about ridiculous things that made us laugh.
"Sansei, I have a difficult decision to make," I said, feigning seriousness.
"And what's that?" he asked.
"I can't decide whether to poop now or in the morning."
"Poop now, obviously," he said. "Otherwise you'll regret it... you'll be awake and farting all night in your sleeping bag... it'll just be bad news."
"Ughhhh, I guess," I groaned, scooping up my toilet paper bag. "It's just such a hassle. And it's too cold to take off my pants!"
"That's what she said!!" Sansei laughed behind me as I took off into the meadow.