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Archive for June 21st, 2006

Destination: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Starting Location: Just south of Bishop Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 13.00
Trip Miles: 844.80
South Bishop Pass Trail (830.5, 8590) to Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) ascent (4114) descent (1844)
I would like an extra large 190 degree decaf, nonfat latte in a double cup please. Oh yea, add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon also.
I certainly hope John Muir & his daughters like snow and ice because the pass named in his honor are covered in snow & the lakes are still 100% ice covered. The difficulty hiking nearly 12 hours on snow was real and as we got more tired the snow got softer & made the work more tiring. The cycle was torturous & yet a wonderful experience. Just when I thought we could not get more physically or mentally tired we found ourselves on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by frozen water that we were no way going to walk on. What happened was classic as not only does the mind see what it wants to it also does not see what it is not looking for. After reviewing the map we agreed that the trail was close to the end of the lake and so logically if we followed the shore line we would arrive at our next way point. Unless there is a peninsula with a impassible high wall on one side. So we had to backtrack about a ½ mile through our post holed tracks we had made 20 minutes before.
That was our second navigation challenge of the day. The first was when Pang pulled a go-BIG and convinced himself where Muir Pass was, without verifying with maps, altimeters, & compass. When Sugar Daddy pointed out that the elevation for Helen Lake was wrong, & I pointed out that the compass was showing north in a direction all of us had difficulty believing (the sun was 90 degrees overhead and offered no help) we saw the correct pass. Now if you are wondering why we are making so many mistakes I would offer this: we have gotten it right hundreds if not thousands of times. We get complacent & don’t verify enough, & we are very fatigued.
Navigation across the snow has transitioned from intimidating, to challenging, to fun. And when you hit the trail after hours or recently days it is a huge rush & sense of accomplishment.
Snow cups are basically evil. A cup develops when something lands on the snow & absorbs more heat than the surrounding snow & thus melts a cup. Now cups can get pretty big (2 ft x 2ft deep), but soon they connect to other cups and create fins (don’t know how). These fins look just like an airplane wing with the narrow side facing up. Now the challenge is to walk amongst the cups or the fins depending on what is present. When they are frozen it is a balancing act to not fall in (fins get waist deep). When soft it is all about not sinking too deep & sliding (falling) too much. And don’t forget about hidden rooms under the snow that generate heat & create cavities waiting to suck you in. Now if you are lucky someone is in front of you (like the point person looking for booby traps) and they find the holes, compress the snow for you, and/or make a more stable platform to stand on. Oh yea they need to weight more than you or they may only set you up for a huge break through – thank you Swiss Miss. And falling can be no joke. My current record is to my belly button with both legs broken through. Typically one leg goes & when you bottom out because your groin hits the snow with your other leg still at snow level, you are really having some fun. More sport is when you are traveling well across the snow while sinking the same amount each step. Then you post hole one leg & your forward momentum exaggerated by a pack allows you to do a perfect face plant into the snow while hinging off a 100% buried leg. What is really amazing is that nothing has broken during one of these maneuvers. After each move it is quiet for a moment & then when we realize we are each okay we rate the quality of the move while laughing hysterically.
Weird thing but there are lots of bugs on the snow including spiders. Birds too, who are presumably eating the bugs. But the weirdest thing is this red stuff. It is an organism of some type and it turns the snow blood red. It is particularly prevalent at the bottom between two fins. And when hikers walk in these fins it looks exactly like bloody footprints. I have now seen it hundreds of times & every time I think the same thing.
When I thought I had it rough today & started thinking I was pretty tough I reflected for probably an hour (try that at home) on Shakleton & his crew who were trapped in the ice, lost their vessel, & had to over winter. It helped me realize again the infinite ability to keep going. I have touched that ability & it is incredible. After taking a break & sincerely saying I am not sure I can go any farther today, I have gone for hours more & was less tired afterwards. The mind is the key to this game; the body is just the vehicle.
So here we are in the middle of white camped on a few rocks & not even sure where exactly the trail is and in walks our friends Sunny & Tadpole. Swapping stories, comparing strategies, full of wonder and a positive sense of accomplishment. Shared experience, bonded to the PCT & to each other.
Destination: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Starting Location: Just south of Bishop Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 13.00
Trip Miles: 844.80
South Bishop Pass Trail (830.5, 8590) to Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) ascent (4114) descent (1844)
I would like an extra large 190 degree decaf, nonfat latte in a double cup please. Oh yea, add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon also.
I certainly hope John Muir & his daughters like snow and ice because the pass named in his honor are covered in snow & the lakes are still 100% ice covered. The difficulty hiking nearly 12 hours on snow was real and as we got more tired the snow got softer & made the work more tiring. The cycle was torturous & yet a wonderful experience. Just when I thought we could not get more physically or mentally tired we found ourselves on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by frozen water that we were no way going to walk on. What happened was classic as not only does the mind see what it wants to it also does not see what it is not looking for. After reviewing the map we agreed that the trail was close to the end of the lake and so logically if we followed the shore line we would arrive at our next way point. Unless there is a peninsula with a impassible high wall on one side. So we had to backtrack about a ½ mile through our post holed tracks we had made 20 minutes before.
That was our second navigation challenge of the day. The first was when Pang pulled a go-BIG and convinced himself where Muir Pass was, without verifying with maps, altimeters, & compass. When Sugar Daddy pointed out that the elevation for Helen Lake was wrong, & I pointed out that the compass was showing north in a direction all of us had difficulty believing (the sun was 90 degrees overhead and offered no help) we saw the correct pass. Now if you are wondering why we are making so many mistakes I would offer this: we have gotten it right hundreds if not thousands of times. We get complacent & don’t verify enough, & we are very fatigued.
Navigation across the snow has transitioned from intimidating, to challenging, to fun. And when you hit the trail after hours or recently days it is a huge rush & sense of accomplishment.
Snow cups are basically evil. A cup develops when something lands on the snow & absorbs more heat than the surrounding snow & thus melts a cup. Now cups can get pretty big (2 ft x 2ft deep), but soon they connect to other cups and create fins (don’t know how). These fins look just like an airplane wing with the narrow side facing up. Now the challenge is to walk amongst the cups or the fins depending on what is present. When they are frozen it is a balancing act to not fall in (fins get waist deep). When soft it is all about not sinking too deep & sliding (falling) too much. And don’t forget about hidden rooms under the snow that generate heat & create cavities waiting to suck you in. Now if you are lucky someone is in front of you (like the point person looking for booby traps) and they find the holes, compress the snow for you, and/or make a more stable platform to stand on. Oh yea they need to weight more than you or they may only set you up for a huge break through – thank you Swiss Miss. And falling can be no joke. My current record is to my belly button with both legs broken through. Typically one leg goes & when you bottom out because your groin hits the snow with your other leg still at snow level, you are really having some fun. More sport is when you are traveling well across the snow while sinking the same amount each step. Then you post hole one leg & your forward momentum exaggerated by a pack allows you to do a perfect face plant into the snow while hinging off a 100% buried leg. What is really amazing is that nothing has broken during one of these maneuvers. After each move it is quiet for a moment & then when we realize we are each okay we rate the quality of the move while laughing hysterically.
Weird thing but there are lots of bugs on the snow including spiders. Birds too, who are presumably eating the bugs. But the weirdest thing is this red stuff. It is an organism of some type and it turns the snow blood red. It is particularly prevalent at the bottom between two fins. And when hikers walk in these fins it looks exactly like bloody footprints. I have now seen it hundreds of times & every time I think the same thing.
When I thought I had it rough today & started thinking I was pretty tough I reflected for probably an hour (try that at home) on Shakleton & his crew who were trapped in the ice, lost their vessel, & had to over winter. It helped me realize again the infinite ability to keep going. I have touched that ability & it is incredible. After taking a break & sincerely saying I am not sure I can go any farther today, I have gone for hours more & was less tired afterwards. The mind is the key to this game; the body is just the vehicle.
So here we are in the middle of white camped on a few rocks & not even sure where exactly the trail is and in walks our friends Sunny & Tadpole. Swapping stories, comparing strategies, full of wonder and a positive sense of accomplishment. Shared experience, bonded to the PCT & to each other.
Destination: Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake
Starting Location: Just south of Bishop Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 13.00
Trip Miles: 844.80
South Bishop Pass Trail (830.5, 8590) to Somewhere in a snow field south of Evolution Lake (843.5, 10,820) ascent (4114) descent (1844)
I would like an extra large 190 degree decaf, nonfat latte in a double cup please. Oh yea, add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon also.
I certainly hope John Muir & his daughters like snow and ice because the pass named in his honor are covered in snow & the lakes are still 100% ice covered. The difficulty hiking nearly 12 hours on snow was real and as we got more tired the snow got softer & made the work more tiring. The cycle was torturous & yet a wonderful experience. Just when I thought we could not get more physically or mentally tired we found ourselves on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by frozen water that we were no way going to walk on. What happened was classic as not only does the mind see what it wants to it also does not see what it is not looking for. After reviewing the map we agreed that the trail was close to the end of the lake and so logically if we followed the shore line we would arrive at our next way point. Unless there is a peninsula with a impassible high wall on one side. So we had to backtrack about a ½ mile through our post holed tracks we had made 20 minutes before.
That was our second navigation challenge of the day. The first was when Pang pulled a go-BIG and convinced himself where Muir Pass was, without verifying with maps, altimeters, & compass. When Sugar Daddy pointed out that the elevation for Helen Lake was wrong, & I pointed out that the compass was showing north in a direction all of us had difficulty believing (the sun was 90 degrees overhead and offered no help) we saw the correct pass. Now if you are wondering why we are making so many mistakes I would offer this: we have gotten it right hundreds if not thousands of times. We get complacent & don’t verify enough, & we are very fatigued.
Navigation across the snow has transitioned from intimidating, to challenging, to fun. And when you hit the trail after hours or recently days it is a huge rush & sense of accomplishment.
Snow cups are basically evil. A cup develops when something lands on the snow & absorbs more heat than the surrounding snow & thus melts a cup. Now cups can get pretty big (2 ft x 2ft deep), but soon they connect to other cups and create fins (don’t know how). These fins look just like an airplane wing with the narrow side facing up. Now the challenge is to walk amongst the cups or the fins depending on what is present. When they are frozen it is a balancing act to not fall in (fins get waist deep). When soft it is all about not sinking too deep & sliding (falling) too much. And don’t forget about hidden rooms under the snow that generate heat & create cavities waiting to suck you in. Now if you are lucky someone is in front of you (like the point person looking for booby traps) and they find the holes, compress the snow for you, and/or make a more stable platform to stand on. Oh yea they need to weight more than you or they may only set you up for a huge break through – thank you Swiss Miss. And falling can be no joke. My current record is to my belly button with both legs broken through. Typically one leg goes & when you bottom out because your groin hits the snow with your other leg still at snow level, you are really having some fun. More sport is when you are traveling well across the snow while sinking the same amount each step. Then you post hole one leg & your forward momentum exaggerated by a pack allows you to do a perfect face plant into the snow while hinging off a 100% buried leg. What is really amazing is that nothing has broken during one of these maneuvers. After each move it is quiet for a moment & then when we realize we are each okay we rate the quality of the move while laughing hysterically.
Weird thing but there are lots of bugs on the snow including spiders. Birds too, who are presumably eating the bugs. But the weirdest thing is this red stuff. It is an organism of some type and it turns the snow blood red. It is particularly prevalent at the bottom between two fins. And when hikers walk in these fins it looks exactly like bloody footprints. I have now seen it hundreds of times & every time I think the same thing.
When I thought I had it rough today & started thinking I was pretty tough I reflected for probably an hour (try that at home) on Shakleton & his crew who were trapped in the ice, lost their vessel, & had to over winter. It helped me realize again the infinite ability to keep going. I have touched that ability & it is incredible. After taking a break & sincerely saying I am not sure I can go any farther today, I have gone for hours more & was less tired afterwards. The mind is the key to this game; the body is just the vehicle.
So here we are in the middle of white camped on a few rocks & not even sure where exactly the trail is and in walks our friends Sunny & Tadpole. Swapping stories, comparing strategies, full of wonder and a positive sense of accomplishment. Shared experience, bonded to the PCT & to each other.
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