1017 (above Sonora Pass) to 999.8 (near Cascade Creek)
One of the most breathtaking days on the trail. My friend Renee/Pathfinder had raved about the 10 mile ridgewalk between Kennedy Canyon Creek and Sonora Pass, so I'd been really looking forward to it. But it wasn't an easy start. Climbing with the bear canister weighted down with 5 days food. Wobbling at first, unsteadily with the extra weight. I haven't carried this much for months. Loose gravel, each step sliding. Traverses with big drop offs. I know I used to be able to do this, that I did this through the Sierra in early June. But that was before the fracture. I break into a cold sweat. Where is the oxygen, where is my balance? Baby steps, don't look down, don't look down, baby steps.
|Climbing in the early morning.|
|OMG this is an amazing sunrise.|
|First rays of light hitting the peaks.|
|Light up lichen.|
|Discarded in all the wildflower excitement.|
|OMG! What are these pods? Some sort of legume?|
|WOW! So tiny and cute (she says not-so scientifically...)|
|Starting the descent to Kennedy Canyon Creek.|
Mid-morning, I met a couple that was setting out to hike the High Sierra Route. I was so excited when I heard this because I've been reading about this cross-country traverse, and have it as a long-term goal. It requires expert navigation skills because it is largely off-trail, but goes off to some really wild areas. I asked them a million questions about how to train for doing the High Sierra Route. I thought of all the boulder scrambling and off-trail travel I've been doing lately and how I want to do more of that, take my skills to a new level. And soon the dreamin' was taking hold, even though I have no idea how it will happen and I'd be scared to do it alone. Anyway, I hiked with them a while, and kept meeting them and hiking together and talking about life, the trail, and southbounding. Fascinating people I hope I run into them again someday.
|This couple heading off to do the High Sierra Route.|
The couple hiked on, but I stopped early to stay at a lower elevation. The wind had been blowing all day and I wanted some shelter. So I found a grove of trees surrounded by willow. Quiet. Still. My head still spinning from the stunningly beautiful ridgewalk, and I fell asleep dreaming of the High Sierra Route, and the places I could go if I left the easy trail, and headed off in my own direction.