|California Red Fir (Abias Magnifica) Image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/leerentz/4314170069/|
I had been suffering the past few days from torn up fingers as well. Working around camp, messing with my pack and straps and just being outside day and night had left my fingers with lots of deep cuts that made it hard to work with anything anymore. Last night that large camping party from Stockton with the young boy named Nick gave me some bandages to wrap those cuts with and that helped a lot. I wanted to repay them so I walked over to where Nick, his Dad and friends were camped and asked them if Nick would be interested in learning to measure one of these trees with the hiking poles. They agreed and Nicked was thrill to get a little hands on math lesson in the Sierra’s. That was very cool for me too.
Today’s hike would take me up and over Glen Pass, 12,100 ft, to the Charlotte Lake area where I was expecting to meet up with one of An’s friends from San Francisco, also named An (So I guess I will just call him An 2.) An 2 is hiking in from the Kersarge Pass today and whoever gets to the junction of that pass and the JMT is to leave a note for the other so we can find each other. Since I was getting a late start this morning with all my tree measuring fun, I expect that An 2 will be beating me to the junction as I probably would not be able to make it there before 7:00 or 8:00 tonight. Passing Rae Lakes, it was almost irresistible not to stop as there were so many fish in there, but I had to press on. Maybe if I made camp early enough I could do some fishing tonight. Then, while climbing Glen’s Pass, my right hamstrings began to tighten up a bit and slowed me down. I was stopping every 15 minutes or so to take in the view and rest up a bit. I got to a point on the trail where there was a stream trickling across it and a good place to sit, so I just sat down without taking off my pack and stretched my legs across the small stream. I was taking sips from the stream and enjoying the sun when another young hiker came along. Buck from L.A. said he liked my style and sat down and joined me for a spell. He two was meeting another hiker, his brother, and had a lot of miles to put in. His brother was meeting him by Guitar lake tomorrow, about 30 miles away from where we were right now – so before too long we took off. Buck is a martial arts instructor and in excellent shape. It was hard to keep up to him, but I did my best. Suddenly, everything started to loosen up for me and I caught right up to him. It seemed like we were racing and for some reason assume that he had just come out of the military, so I shouted, “Buck you better not let your old Sarge catch up to you.” It turned out that he never had been in the military, yet the race was on. I couldn’t keep up anymore but I kept pushing, had a lot of fun doing it. We made some excellent time to the top climbing the last 1000 feet of vertical in about 20 minutes totally out of breath.
We continued our rapid pace on the decent and this time it was Buck who could just barely keep up to me. I had been hiking in my light racing shoes for the last few days and finding I had much better footing especially on the downhills with them than the other heavier trail runners I had with me. I switched out of the Salomon Ultra 3D trail shoes because they had started cutting into my heal. I was now wearing a pair of minimalist New Balance 110. With these shoes my feet could feel out the trail as I moved along, more or less skipping along without looking down all the time even with my heavy pack on. I definitely recommend trail running shoes or even lighter shoes like I was now wearing for hiking a trail like the JMT. Hiking boots are excessive here, because it is a well maintained trail. In fact, most people I met who were wearing hiking boots were also battling blisters or other foot problems.
We made it down to the Junction of the Kearsarge Pass by about 6:00PM but there was no note from An2. Either he hadn’t made it yet, or was not going to be able to make it. I left a note that I would be hiking about one mile further to the Bullfrog Lake Junction. Just before dark, when I was just about to turn in for the night at that camp site, I see this young skinny fellow hiking down the trail. He asks, “Is that you Dave?” An 2 had finally made it
|Smoke from forest fire caused by a careless campfire|