Miles Hiked Thus Far: 41.5;
JMT Mile Marker: 33;
Day’s End: Elevation 9,692; Lyell Bridge
Well, what a day. I seem to say that a lot. Got up at 5:40am as planned and was on the trail by 7:10am. Here was my view as I left camp…
It was a cool beautiful morning and a great day to get some miles in. It was flat the whole 8 miles…like Texas flat. It was soo nice and so scenic. It was by far the easiest day I have had thus far.
When I got on the trail as the sun started peeking through the trees, I was greeted by a doe right in the middle of the trail as if to say ‘Welcome to my home!’
As I come around the corner on the trail, I see it…Donahue Pass. There is still a good amount of snow on it and it is almost August! I wonder what the trail will be like as I get up to the higher elevation. I don’t have crampons, but heard I won’t need them so hope that is true!
Then I was about .1 from my campsite and I caught up to Andy from Asheville…some young guy just out of college that got the ‘Golden Ticket’ (started in Yosemite) and is also on his way to Whitney…just like me! Except he is doing it much faster. When I got to camp, he said “but it is only noon, you can’t stop now!” Understand that after this last campsite I am passing, I go up and up and up about 2,500 ft in 3 miles up Donahue Pass. But he said that the hardest part of the pass is the first mile and there was camping at the bridge there just up the trail, Lyell Bridge.
Now, mind you, after a 11 mile day yesterday and already at 8 today, I was tired and ready to stop. But then I realized if I could get up a mile that would mean I would have a less of a hard day tomorrow. Ha! Sound familiar? Man, the conversations had with myself in the wilderness. So, I left the beautiful meadow and headed up at Andy’s recommendation. It took me almost an hour to get up the mile and only went up 700 feet but felt like 2,000 feet. I definitely can’t wait until I get my trail legs as this is sucking! It did go up and up and seemed to go up forever.
But the campsite here is amazing and I got to soak my feet in an amazingly clear and freezing cold river coming off the pass, rinse out some clothes, and drink as much water as I wanted! It is truly an awesome spot. Time for my dinner of 2 tortillas, dehydrated beef stroganoff and sour patch kids. Meal of pass climbing champs! 🙂
I am anxious about tomorrow so will get up normal early time and hope to be out of camp by 7:15am and head up Donahue. I will take my time as I am not in a rush and enjoy the view at the top and then head down when I decide I am ready. It is so nice to not have to be on a schedule, rushing from here to there…running to co-op, then driving to scouts and being confined to the schedules of “normalcy”.
Now, tomorrow, as far as mileage goals is up in the air as I am supposed to only do like 5.5 miles and I know it would be good for me but we will see. 🙂 I can see how the itinerary may be thrown out very soon. JMT alumni mentioned that would happen, but I only half believed them as I know I am used to being driven by a plan…but I have to admit, I am loving this new freedom of listening to my body and heart as far as going only as far or farther if I am so inclined.
I miss my family again tonight. What an amazing family I have to support this trip!
Sleep well friends! Tomorrow is a big big day!