Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 8: Half Way!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1 mile north of Squaw Lake (mile 86.8) to Marie Lake (mile 106.2).

Today's miles: 19.4
Trip miles: 106.2

I'm half way done! I can't believe it. It seems like only yesterday I was saying goodbye to my mom and cousin in Yosemite.

Ok, back to today. As Yogi Berra once said, ”In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” Such is the case with planning a hike of this magnitude from the comfort of your bedroom.

There are so many factors at play out here that you can't predict or plan for - including physical conditioning at higher altitudes, hiking (sometimes big miles) day after day (and how your body will respond to the physical undertaking), and of course - weather.

You can have the best intinerary ever, but rest assured nature will dictate your moves. You can complain and get angry, or accept it and adapt to your circumstances.

This is exactly the reason today was a day of firsts for me.
1. I woke up at 4 am and was on the trail at 4:53 am. Hiking in the dark (with no moonlight) on wet trail littered with slippery rocks is not exactly my cup of tea, but I did it because I had to. I wanted to give myself the best possible chance to cover the miles I needed to. Headlamp on full blast and one careful step in front of the other.

Pre-dawn hiking is spectacular and magical
2. I hiked over 19 miles in one day. That's huge for me. There were lots of ups and downs in elevation today, but my slow behind parked his rear at camp in just under 12 hours. I took tons of photos, soaked my feet in the river and chatted with almost every hiker I met. I am slightly sore, but after a long soak of the feet in the lake and 20 minutes of stretching (you know - yoga), I feel great.

3. I passed the 100 mile mark. It really doesn't seem like I've hiked that many miles, but they sure do add up, as long as I keep on truckin'.

4. I lost my sunglasses today. I had strapped them to the top of my pack with my wet clothes (smart I know), and the wet strap holding everything in place must have come loose. This was the first time I ever lost something on the trail. Hike and learn I suppose...

Starting a hike before daybreak offers a hiker beautiful vistas. As the sun kisses the mountain peaks, the golden colors shine bright and it is truly beautiful.

Almost at Silver Pass

The dwellers on the valley floor also get their moment in the sun. I can sit and watch the moisture vaporize all morning long. 

The day got longer, hotter, and into the forest the trail went. There were quite a few aspen groves on this stretch of trail. Must be a glorious sight in the fall when the leaves turn golden yellow.

Around 1pm, I had another yard sale. I laid out my tent, shirt, socks, underwear, rain jacket, rain pants, gloves and bearproof canister on rocks. In about an hour, everything was dry.

I continued hiking, keeping one eye on the trail and one on the clouds. Further north the clouds were very dark, but where I was headed there were patches of blue. As I hiked, the skies cleared and I avoided the rain today.

Close to 2:30 pm, I came upon the perfect spot to soak my feet after having already covered 14 miles. It wasn't my intention to stop here, but this spot was very inviting and it didn't take much convincing for me to drop my pack, take my shoes off and soak my feet. I lounged about for about a half hour at this wonderful location. So great!

Great minds think alike. hehe
Around 3:30 pm, a guy hiking northbound asked if I was Andy. If I were in the city, I'd wonder if I'm about to be served with papers and would answer "no", but out here, I wasn't concerned with that and answered "yes" :)  The man inquiring was Robert Perkins - aka Hobbles, the generous person from the John Muir Trail Yahoo Group who donated his used copy of the JMT atlas I used to plan my hike. It was great to meet him, chat with him and thank him for his generosity in person. By the way, he's hiking the JMT in 9 days and is ahead if schedule. Go Robert!

When I arrived at Marie Lake, I quickly set up camp, grabbed my dinner and headed for the lake to soak my feet.

Afterward, I stretched for 20 minutes, double checked my maps for tomorrow, charged my camera with my battery pack and sat next to my tent soaking in the view of gorgeous Marie Lake - one of my favorites for sure. 

One other thing, today was the first time I set up my tent using rocks instead of tent stakes. It worked out great although I need to outfit my tent with parachord for use with rocks to avoid damaging the guy lines.

Room with a view
Lovin' the trail life!
“The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ~John Muir

posted from Bloggeroid

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