BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

JMT Day 3 - Donahue Pass, Thousand Island Lake and River Trail

Monday, July 1st
                Another quiet night and I wake to the sound of birds singing at dawn once more.  I have been sleeping out in the open without any tent or tarp and only a bug net covering my head and even that may be unnecessary as I have seen but a few mosquito this year.  Especially when compared to last year which was horrendous.  Last year if you weren’t totally covered head to toe in clothing, netting, bug goop or some combination of these, you would quickly become fodder for the hordes of mosquito.  The reason for this was that the winter prior to that summer of 2011 had seen record snow fall. That summer snow was still melting in full force off of all the mountain glaciers well into August keeping the mountain meadows moist and full of water creating fertile breeding grounds for the mosquito army of the Sierra Mountains.  This year’s situation was a diametrical opposite.  Last winter we had one of the lightest snowfalls on record, I heard that the trail over Donahue Pass was already clear of snow and stream and lake levels were already dropping for the summer and as a result we have a very welcome low mosquito population this year.
Glacial Lake of Donahue Pass

                We are all packed up and ready to go by around 8:30am.  We still have the cool morning air and fresh rested legs to climb the first of mountain passes of the trip.  We take short breaks on the way up as we  still getting acclimated to the altitude but 11,056 foot Donahue pass didn’t present too much difficulty.  That is except for one partial dunking I took while crossing a stream.  I was probably doing a little too much site seeing while hoping from rock to rock across the stream, when I miss-stepped and went down in the water backpack and all.  At least I didn’t get hurt and I was able to get up quickly and carry on.  Nothing hurt but a bit of pride as An stood laughing on the other side. 
Climbing the pass
Top of Donahue Pass - 11,056 feet
                Hiking down the south side of Donahue pass takes us into the meadows of Island Pass which is rated as many people’s favorite part of the trail.  When I am asked I which part of the trail I enjoy the most I always honestly tell them I can’t tell.  I like to say that out here every day is the best day.  It always seems that no matter how astonished you may be with one day’s discoveries the next day you will be even more overwhelmed.  That said the hike down Island Pass towards Thousand Island Lake and Mt. Banner will always be amazing and I will let the pictures do the talking.  
South side of Donahue Pass
Crossing Island Pass
Island Pass Lake
Mt. Banner

                We stop at the shore of Thousand Island Lake, take off our packs and take a break.  Another hiker and his friend join us and we have lunch together.  For me it’s hummus and quinoa that I prepared in the morning.  It’s about 1:00 in the afternoon now and the sun fells really good on the large granite slab we are sitting on.  I fall asleep for a bit before we decide to jump in the lake for a rinse.  It’s ice cold and we are in and out in what is probably less than a minute.  Getting washed up in these mountain lakes is not going to be a real pleasant option.
Pack train headed back to Weber Lake
Thousand Island Lake and site of the ice cold swim

From Thousand Island Lake to Red’s Meadow there are three different trails we have to choice from.  We hear reports that trail crews are still working at clearing out last fall’s blow down on the JMT, I hiked PCT option last year so we take the middle route, the River Trail instead.  Last fall this part of the mountains experienced  100 MPH winds that blew down large tracts of the forest in a freak storm.  National Forest Service (NFS) trail crews were still working on cleaning up the mess and we were doing our best to stay out of their way.  Another plus was that the river trail look like it would have a lot less up and down to it and that would be good for An who was starting to battle with some blisters on his feet.
Hiking the River Trail
River Trail canyon
Happy Campsite

                About two hours of hiking later we find an established packers campground where we even found a folding table and a shovel.  The table was handy for cooking and organizing our stuff and the shovel was great for digging the required holes for out daily business. It was a great location with a water fall streaming down the mountain on the other side on the river.  
Sleeping to the sounds of the water fall

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