Day 58: Lost Ranger Peak

Miles Hiked: 21

Total Milage: 932.6

Location: Summit Lake Campground

This morning I woke up at 4:30 as planned. I went to the bathroom and packed some of my things up before realizing that no one else was moving around. I asked to see if they were awake and no one answered me. I really didn’t feel like packing up my sleeping pad and bag just yet, so I laid down until 5am and then woke everyone up. At 5:30 am I started hiking.

The day started off with a one mile dirt road walk until I reached a trailhead for North Lake. I started ascending to the lake right behind 12 pack and Hummingbird was behind me. First I crossed a very fast moving and gushing creek over a log in order to not get my feet wet. I know they will be wet later but if I can avoid it for as long as possible I will. The trail switch backed very gently and I moved at a moderate pace. Eventually I started to run into more and more dead trees that had fallen across the trail. I would get slowed down everytime I had to figure out how to fanangle myself around the tree and back on to the trail, sometimes I stepped over them, other times I had to climb over them and jump off, and sometimes I’d have to walk completely around them. Blow down trees really suck. I ended up ripping a hole in the top of my shoe. I was really annoyed about it because I wanted to keep these shoes to wear around town after the trail but now they are full of holes, on top of that more debris gets into my shoes when I walk and sometimes causes irritations that lead to blister. Eventually I ran into snow that just increased the more I gained elevation. All of us took a break at a lake that was 4 miles from camp, and halfway to our highpoint of the day. At the lake we were at about 10000 feet. We had already ascended around 1500 and still have another 1500 to go.

After the break, we continued hiking through even more snow. My feet were soaking wet. We had to cross lots of small streams and whenever there was a patch without snow it was most likely a mud puddle. Eventually the snow became less and less as we got to a more exposed section of the trail that the sun and wind helped eliminate snow from. I was very happy to see our climb infront of us with some giant dry looking patches. I climbed pretty slow up to the top of the peak, my leg muscles were already exhausted and cramping at 9am. The top of the peak was absolutely beautiful. I loved seeing the other nearby mountain ridges and the patchy snow on the mountains in the distance. We all took a break together again and I called both my mom and sister. Afterwards we hiked another 3 miles to a lunch spot. On the way there we went over some much larger patches of snow that were on a slope that I had to cut flat footsteps into. I saw a small coyote run across the snow near the peak in front of me. Our lunch spot was very nice and sunny and protected from the wind by the rocks we were all tucked into. I don’t normal cook for lunch, but today I made some Ramen. I intended to pack five days of food for this section but I realized that I had eaten way more food than I realized. I think the hard work of hiking in the snow is making me burn a lot more calories and I’m noticing. On the up side, I’m more likely to walk into town with an almost empty food bag.

When we left our lunch spot, I put on my rain jacket and made sure everything important was water proofed. There were some threateningly dark clouds above us and it looked like it was raining in the distance. The navigation and snow after lunch was a lot more difficult than the first half of the day. We hiked 4.5 miles and it felt like it took forever. I hardly ever saw the actual ground for the rest of the day. If I did, it was usually for about 10 feet, and a giant muddy mess. 12 pack and Hummingbird lead the way. They hike a lot faster than me in the snow. I’m glad I got to follow them because navigation has been awful for me lately. My mapping app, Guthook has been crashing every single time I open it. It takes me several minutes to load anything on the app and by that time I can easily fall so far behind. It’s been absolutely frustrating me every single day. My friends who have iPhones do not seem to have the same issue. I didn’t have this problem with their Appalachian Trail version of the app on my same phone, and I almost wonder if my phone is causing the issues. I need to have a ton of maps downloaded and it takes up quite a bit of space on my phone. I’m heavily considering getting a new phone even though I really don’t want to. Honestly I’ve been having this problem the whole trail but it’s become crippling in the snow with no trail markers. I might look into phone prices in town tomorrow.

We took another break before we got to camp and I was totally exhausted. I’m not sure how I made it the rest of the way there, but I do know if Hummingbird and 12 pack were not with me, I wouldn’t be doing this. Today was a really hard one for me. I was so happy to arrive at camp around 6:30. 12 pack told me that today was the farthest he has ever hiked through so much snow in a single day. He hiked the PCT during one of the highest snow years on record. As tired as my body feels, I feel really proud of myself. Going 21 miles in a day through some really tough snow is really hard! For dinner I made some delicious Fettuccine Alfredo and had a cookie for desert. I took some time to stretch really well before getting in my tent to get away from the crazy mosquitos. Before falling asleep and browsing through tomorrow’s terrain I wrote this blog post.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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