Day 53: Another Day In Paradise

Mile reached: 998.2 (+24.8)

High: The mountains, lakes, and meadows were stunningly beautiful!

Low: The mosquitoes!

When I woke up, I found my tent dripping with condensation, and the sun was still all the way on the other side of the valley. Add this to the list of reasons not to set up my tent. Anyway, I enjoyed the beautiful vista for a few minutes and decided to pack up my tent sopping wet.

As I was packing up, “Classic” walked past but didn’t notice me. I caught him 15 minutes later, and we hiked together for a little bit catching up. He indicated that he would eat breakfast on top of the pass. Since I hadn’t eaten yet, I decided to join him. Ironically, I got to the pass a few minutes ahead of him, and he walked right past me while I was fiddling with gear not realizing that he was going through the pass. After I ate breakfast, I found him down from the pass a bit in a funny spot on the side of the trail cooking, where we figured out what had happened. Oh well.

Breakfast view from the pass

The challenge for the day was expected to be several substantial creek crossing. Last year, people had to swim across one of them! I told “Classic” that I’d wait for him if anything looked gnarly. As luck would have it, they were all rather sedate and two even had log crossings. I could only surmise that the melt had occurred here weeks sooner, perhaps because the surrounding mountains are lower in elevation than where we’d come from.

This creek killed someone last year, but fortunately there was a log.
PCT signage once again makes an appearance. Goodbye, JMT.

Since VVR, I’ve wondered what I should do. Wait for friends behind me to catch up? See if I can actually finish the trail by the end of August? Well, “Johnny Stache” told me in Mammoth that “Gandalf”, “Baby Blanket”, and “Backtrack” had already passed through Toulomne and that we’d likely never see them again. How could I resist such a challenge?

Hence, I was pleased to catch “Catfish John” and “Ramblin Rose” again. I’ve heard that they are fairly fast, and I hadn’t seen them since Muir Pass. So, it made me start to wonder if I might catch “Fruit Salad” before Tahoe, who I had assumed was days ahead of me.

Planning to have lunch at what looked like a beautiful lake on the map, I was somewhat dismayed when I noticed mosquitoes as I approached. My dismay very quickly turned into frustration as the mosquitoes swarmed. I reached a river that required fording, and I wasn’t willing to get my shoes wet. As I stopped to take them off, I was confronted with a dilemma. How much time should I spend killing mosquitoes versus untying my shoes. I’d never seen so many mosquitoes in my life. Swatting them was unnecessary; I’d just run my hand down my leg turning up a dozen dead mosquitoes!

The lake where the mosquitoes began.
The creek at which the mosquitoes descended upon me

The mosquitoes chased me most of the afternoon up what otherwise was a phenomenally beautiful valley. As luck would have it, I found a campsite with a fire pit all ready to go. That at least held them at bay while I ate and prepared camp in the evening. Disconcertingly, I fell asleep with numerous mosquitoes waiting patiently on my bug net.

Dorthy Lake
The final pass out of Yosemite! It was a little sad though.
The lake that would serve as my campsite
Fire!

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