Day 56: You Are Useless, Alec Baldwin

Mile reached: 1073.9 (+32.5)

High: It was a very quiet day in the wilderness, but I caught and hiked with “Baywatch” at the end of the day.

Low: When I slipped the previous day, I cut my ankle. Apparently, bumping rocks has been aggravating this wound causing it to continue to bleed.

It was another morning in which I discovered that the snafflehounds had gnawed on something! Somehow one of them had snuck into my food bag and ate part of a Milky Way. Thankfully, they didn’t do something like chew though my tent.

The morning was tranquil and I didn’t encounter a soul until I was close to the highway. Much to my surprise, there was snow on the north side of a saddle that made hiking challenging. It was so icy and steep that I was slipping all the way down. Ironically, if I had dinner it in the afternoon, it would have been trivial.

Snow approaching Ebbetts Pass

By mid-morning I reached CA-4 at Ebbetts Pass, the third of the trans-Sierra highways encountered on the trail. A good friend of mine has in-laws that live down the mountain, and he and his family come up to visit regularly during the summer. So, being the good friend he is, he timed a visit and came up to the pass to meet me with cold beer in hand! Oh wait, he didn’t…

Such a lonely highway without trail magic

Up to Ebbetts Pass, the mountains had been a mixture of granite and volcanic rock, but still dramatic and heavily forested. However, north of the pass the scenery began to change further. The terrain opened up and sage started to appear. It very much started to feel like horse and cattle country. Despite the drier vegetation, there was still plenty of water and hiking through there midday heat was easily manageable.

The mountains began to flatten and the vegetation became drier.
Yep, still volcanic rock
Ebbetts Pass is so lush in comparison to what lies to the north.

Throughout the day, I only ran into a couple NoBo (northbound) thru-hikers. However, late in the day just as the sun was setting, I came up behind “Baywatch”. As I tend to do, I startled him, and he visibly jumped and shouted. After he collected himself, we hiked together for a few miles. I had intended to go to a campsite nearby, but it was occupied. Heartbreakingly, it took a while to find terrain flat enough to camp on. However, the site I ended up with was spectacular with views down the valley.

The madman finally did it! The ramen bomb with cheese and bacon bits!
Tahoe is so close, just beyond those mountains.

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