As I got late to bed late yesterday, I allowed my to sleep a bit longer and only got up and going when I didn’t need a headlamp. Nevertheless, I was still quite sleepy and not in the best mood, though much better than yesterday.
As the very first thing of the day, the trail brought us up and across a ridge, starting out with a surprisingly steep ascent. It gave great views in the golden morning light nearly on par with some of those views of yesterday. Going down there was about a dozen 20 feet or so snow patches that all were easily crossed and not necessitating that I put on the microspikes, I felt. It was a bit wet and boggy, though, but not terribly so. As always the first part of the descent was somewhat jumbled and slow going but eventually flattened out.
After the first passing of the day, the trail started steeply going up and down taking us to another canyon. I thought oh no this is going to be as hard as two days ago and not offer much in terms of views aside from the now rather mundane pin forest floor. Luckily I was wrong. We soon got above the timberline bringing us into what seemed like a completely different environment with green rolling hilltops with tons flowers in orange, blue, white, and purple. This was perhaps due to the fertile volcanic soil that slowly supplanted the granite of Yosemite.
Though there certainly still was elevation change, it was more gradual and the soft path made for smooth sailing. I put on some fast paced music and that sped things up further and made it seem easier to go up to the ascents. I don’t think I have ever overtaken as many other hikers as I did today. Being faster than others is by no means a goal of mine. This is not a competition to me, but it meant that I could get some decent mileage despite the late start. It was a bit warm, but I used my aforementioned and soon to be patented soaking of sleeves in stream water, which worked nicely. One more thing that I might have neglected to mention is how nice it is to have so much water nearby. You can just empty your bottle when you get to the next one and in that way always have ice cold and nicely tasting water rarely carrying more than one liter of water.
In the evening I had to decide how much further to go, so I had a late lunch and opted to push for only twenty six miles. I felt that I had used most of today’s energy, but the going was still relatively easy. Nearing that campsite, however, there were a couple of snow patches and I actually got my microspikes out, but it was easy going. When I got to the planned camp site, however, it was a terrible one, as it was exposed to the wind, sloping, and near a lake that wasn’t on the map and thus likely to cause condensation. Not because it wasn’t on the map but because it was a lake. I had my dinner there (couscous with pine nuts) and decided to walk on, albeit slowly as I felt that I had already pushed my body quite a bit today. Walking there involed a bunch of switchbacks with surprisingly steep drop-offs which made for nice views. Not long into it, I saw a deer there. It was young, had small antlers, and was quite cute. I didn’t want to trap it on a long switchback stretch, so I slowly stepped backwards and it followed slowly along until it could pass me by going off to one side.
I eventually made it to the final camp site. It was a nice one by all means. Good views, but still not exposed to the wind and with an even and soft ground. I was tired but feeling well and in an unexpectedly good mood. I will probably take it a bit slower tomorrow after two long days in a row to not get injured.