Miles: 963.3 to 987.3
We slept in a valley, so the warmth of the sun didn’t make its presence known until we’d walked about a mile. As soon as I stepped into the direct sunlight, I was hot. Too hot. I stripped off my rain/wind layer, unbuttoned my sun shirt, took off my ear cover and removed my tights.
We spent the morning climbing and descending Benson Pass. The trails in northern Yosemite are old. On hill sides, they are crumbly and eroded from water and snow melt. Around flat meadows, they are water logged. Most meadows have three or four ruts made by hikers who’ve tried to avoid the water over the years.
That said, it can make the hiking a slow process sometimes because you really have to watch your step. Or land in a seasonal trail pond.
Overall, the terrain today was more short but steep ups and downs. The weather has held out. We’ve had warm temperatures and full sun. It’s almost hot like it was in the desert. But the scenery here is much nicer. Granite cliffs, deep blue ponds, towering sequoia.
For lunch, we stopped partway up the climb to Seavey Pass. We found a little bit of shade next to a small seasonal stream.
After lunch, I put in my headphones and spent the afternoon with Rachel Maddow and Democracy Now! podcasts. After 1000 miles on trail, I am completely bored with the 10 conversations on constant rotation in my head. What’s for dinner? Will it rain? When will we be done hiking today? When will we finish the trail? What will I eat the next time we’re in town? Turns out, I need new input after 2 months in the woods. My body has been given precedence since it’s doing all the work. But now my brain needs some attention.
Even listening to weeks-old podcasts provides me with enough new information to get through 20 miles of trail while I stew over it in the coming days.
We decided to go up and over one more climb before stopping for the day. It would put our end time past 8, which I don’t prefer. But we have to make the miles.
We stopped at Lake Wilma, and were instantly engulfed in a mosquito cloud. I rushed to set up the tent and Richard applied another layer of deet and got water and made dinner. We ate cheesy rice with more buzz in the background. Then ducked into the sanctuary of the tent.