Miles hiked: 11.7
Camped at: 3+ miles prior to Mather Pass with Mad Hatter
I’m blatantly hiding in my tent from the mosquitos. I don’t think they’re even bad yet from the tales of the “hatch” that have scared me silly. I hiked for a while this morning with my head bug net on – amazing how that little light item ensures my sanity :). I’m being daring tonight and leaving the fly off – not that I’m afraid it will rain, but rather from possible cold as I’m camped above 10000 feet. It seems a long time since I’ve been able to see the stars from where I lay, and while this campsite leaves much to be desired in terms of spots amidst the rocks, I do have a wide open view of the sky, and it hasn’t been windy. Even with a creek nearby I’m not overly worried about condensation – the air couldn’t be drier if it tried as my cracking hands and constantly dry nose will attest.
I slept wonderfully well last night considering how anxious I was for the unknown snow on Pinchot Pass and that I had several miles to get up there. My take off time of 6:20 reassured me that I’d be up on the pass by noon at the latest. There were a couple of snow traverses on either side, none long or scary. Though I did posthole once, stepping off a rock into the snow. I’m glad I got the first time out of the way at such an easy area. All in all, some lovely, if non-varied, scenery today and a relatively easy hike. I’ve been thinking the last 2 days a lot about how while it’s very true the Sierra is majestic, it isn’t very bio-diverse. This feels blasphemous, but while new scenes fill me with wonder, I lose active engagement and interest relatively quickly. Right now it’s certainly not that I’m putting my head down and hiking for all hours, since I’m not. Certainly a place to experience and hike at least once, but I have to wonder why folks come back many many times to hike only the JMT, as compared with exploring all of the trails in the Sierra, such that they are, much less other trails and regions. I miss the biodiversity along the east coast, heck, even in the SoCal desert before Tehachapi! Always something slightly different to look at, changing environments, etc. Wow, I’m getting spoiled or blasé about lovely views, oy. It may come down to the fact that I’m not bored walking through woods all day long, appreciating views when they come up. I never had the “Virginia Blues” on the AT, or felt that the “green tunnel” was oppressive outside of the rocky section of PA. Interesting to ponder, at least for me out here.
Back to business – The word from southbounding JMT-ers is that there is snow on the other side of Mather and both sides of Muir. I guess I’ll see how far I can get tomorrow – today was once again short miles to set myself up for the pass tomorrow morning. Muir though is some distance from Mather and I know I’ll feel more secure if I can get as close as I can, knowing a 20 mile day probably isn’t feasible at this point.
I had several great conversations with section hikers this morning on Pinchot, lucky for me because I didn’t see another thru until Mad Hatter caught up to me at 3pm. He’s quiet and so am I which means we haven’t had much more than superficial hiking conversation yet. Apparently Pockets and Dust Bunny were about an hour ahead of me this morning, but they must have done Mather this afternoon. Still no sign of Writer either, not that I’ve been making enough miles to catch her at this point. Except for Mad Hatter I seem to be between bubbles of thrus, which is the last thing I want at this point from a loneliness factor. While I prefer climbing up to the passes mostly by myself since I’m so slow and feel self conscious about having to stop so much to “take air” as one section hiker called it today, I really wish there were someone to share the views and breaks with. I was instantly in a better mood when Mad Hatter showed up this afternoon. I’m seriously thinking again about skipping ahead somewhere, but would that feel awkward too? Now I haven’t hiked with my old bubble for close to a month. I so wish I could just click with someone to go the rest of the way with. I even had a thought that maybe I should just go home after the Sierra if I’m still hiking alone. But I know how fortunate I am to have this opportunity, and many would give anything to be in my place. Just feeling very emotional and somewhat lonely today I guess, and trying to figure out what the trail is trying to teach me with all of this.