mile 741.6 – 760
18.4 miles

Before we get into this post, let me just say, if you ever have problems with cold feet, do yourself a favor and splurge on some down booties from Goosefeet. You won’t regret it.

I woke up this morning and knew something was off. Then I realized I had gotten my period over night. Usually, I have some spotting to warn me, but not this time. Periods can get squirrelly with so much physical activity day after day. I was covered. Not the thing you really want to have to attend to first thing in the morning. Or ever. Luckily it either hasn’t been that cold lately, or I’ve just gotten more used to it.

I took care of my business, then packed up. Sita had gone ahead, but we had a big climb today, so I soon caught up with her, and we commiserated about being women on trail. 

It was a beautiful day! The sky was big and bright blue. We climbed about 2000 feet over 9.5 miles. It wasn’t steep, just really long. Just before reaching the top of our climb, we stopped for lunch at Chicken Spring Lake, a really lovely alpine lake with a really ridiculous name. 

We are truly in the middle of nowhere. There is absolutely no contact with the outside world here, except that there is some kind of base nearby and we hear jets fly by every once in a while. Other than animal sounds and the occasional jet, it is incredibly quiet and peaceful here. It’s kind of nice being forced to disconnect, although I do miss Hunter and I worry that he’s worried. I’m still seeing vaguely heart-shaped rocks everywhere. 

I feel like I had a million things to say about the desert, but I’m having a hard time finding words for this section. It’s just big and beautiful. We’re waking through pines and boulders. Giant, snow-capped mountains surround us and we’re always speculating about which mountain is Mount Whitney and where we’re headed. We’ve walked through a little bit of snow, but it’s melting fast. The best part is that there is water everywhere! We really never need to carry more than a liter at a time, but it’s hard to shake the impulse to carry more after coming through the desert.

Despite the small water carries, our packs are weighed down. We have added microspikes and ice axes to our gear, as well as bear canisters. Bear canisters are giant, heavy, plastic containers designed to keep a bear from getting to your food. The bears can find them, but they can’t open them, which keeps the bears safe. The goal is to keep the bears from getting a taste for human food. The canisters are required in many areas throughout the Sierras. 

My goal for today was to set myself up to make it as near to Forester Pass as I feel comfortable camping tomorrow. Forester Pass is the first of the big mountain passes we have to climb through. It’s still covered in snow, which means I will want to go through in the early morning when the snow is still firm. I’m a bit terrified of this whole snowy endeavor, but I’ll find someone to stick near and just take it slow. 

Once we finished lunch at the lake, we kind of split up for the rest of the day and then met at camp. It was a long slog of an afternoon. The last couple of miles seemed to take forever. Probably because my stomach was hurting. But I kept going and got there eventually. 

We’re camped near a meadow, next to a creek. We had a lovely evening of watching a family of deer in the meadow. They came so close to us! Sorry I didn’t get any pics. 

The mosquitos aren’t terrible, but I set up my tent anyway. Time for sleep. Another long day tomorrow. Only seven days until I see Hunter!

Today’s hike was powered by majestic beauty.