I quickly and easily got the last step of the way up to Benson Pass. It was just over 10K feet, snow free and didn’t offer anything that special in terms of views in my opinion. After that it was down another valley, up it, down another valley up it, and so on and so forth. When the trail wasn’t busy doing that it went up and down the side of a valley likely to avoid some unseen obstacle. Further the trail was uneven, steep, and winding. This jointly made for a very slow and strenuous hike, potentially living up to the categorization of this six day stretch being the hardest on the trail.
There were also good elements, though. For instance, I saw seven deer. Two of the deer were a mother and her kid (or whatever a deer child is called). The mother was kind of signaling that they should get out of there while the kid was extraordinarily interested in me and what I was doing. It was also quite cute. There were also a few nice lakes but not any great views.
The slow progress today eventually got me down for a while as I had to do 25 miles a day and I was quickly running out of energy. Further, it had gotten very warm after noontime. It was actually my birthday today, which together with the previous circumstances had me slightly homesick and questioning of I wanted to proceed.
At one ford of a creek, I said to the hiker behind me that it wasn’t even that cold, and I’d even like to have a swim in it. Then the very obvious hit me that I could in fact have swim. That was extraordinarily nice and washed away al the sweat of the last two days. It was the highlight of my day for sure. I’ll do that more in the future. It gave me some more energy to push on and I made it to a camp site only slightly short of my goal. I am now 4.5 miles behind schedule which should be fixable. I set my alarm clock to one hour earlier than usual and went to bed.