Day 82: Snow Mesa

Miles Hiked: 22.8

Total Milage: 1350.1

Location: Spring Creek Pass

This morning 12 pack woke me up around 6:30am. It’s pretty unusual for me to be the last one up. I was feeling incredibly exhausted and did not want to move. I fell asleep and woke back up again at 7am. It stopped raining and the sun was shining on our tents. I got to dry some things out while I packed up my stuff. Even though most of my stuff was still wet, it was nice that the sun was shining! We left camp around 7:30am. Our first 4 miles of the day was a 1.4k uphill climb to the top of a pass. When we were climbing I felt absolutely exhausted. My stomach was growling the whole time because I didn’t have much to eat for breakfast. At the top of the pass, 12 pack and I stopped to enjoy the sunshine and eat as much food as we could. Both of us have been incredibly hungry all the time lately. It feels like it doesn’t matter how much we eat, it’s never enough. It was so nice to relax for a little bit 4 miles in to the day. We usually don’t take the day this slow but we were both feeling really exhausted so it was nice. 12 pack didn’t think that it would rain at all today hopefully. The blue sky seemed to only last about 6 miles in to the day before the clouds started to appear, turn dark, and grumble.

After eating breakfast on the first pass, we dropped down a bit before climbing a second one. At the top of the second pass the weather started to look threatening. We dropped down in elevation again before climbing a really steep pass that would be our high point for the day. I was a little nervous the whole time we were climbing the pass because the sky looked dark. I’d normally take it a lot slower and stop to catch my breath, but when the sky looks bad and freaks me out, I usually don’t stop much at all and breath super hard the whole way up. The top of the third pass was so exhausting. The view from the top was definitely worth it, after this 12 pack and I decided to go over one more small pass before stopping for a lunch break. We knew that we would be exposed for a long time after lunch and we were both so dead tired. At lunch, we sat under some dead trees on a saddle. The sun was out for a little bit. I just relaxed as much as I could. My back was feeling very fatigued today which is how I know my body has really taken a beating.

As soon as we left our lunch spot, it started to rain. Of course! 12 pack and I were exposed for the rest of the day after this. We contoured around a tall peak along a boulder field before reaching some high alpine meadows. I passed a hiker heading the opposite way. As soon as 12 pack saw his face he yelled with excitement! It was “Goose” a guy he hiked with on the PCT. It’s funny to run in to people you hiked a long trail with on a different long trail! We stopped and chatted with Goose for a while. During this time the sky in the direction 12 pack and I were hiking just kept looking worse and worse. I was getting really anxious for the conversation to finish up so I could hurry up and get this hiking over with before a storm broke out and I had no where to go.

I put on my rain pants and jacket before saying goodbye to Goose. About 10 minutes later it started to rain a lot and then hail. I kept climbing up to the high point even though the clouds were making some awful sounds. Right at the high point, I passed two more hikers going the opposite direction. It made me feel a little better that 12 pack and I were not the only people up in the alpine during a threatening storm. As I descended from the high point the thunder booms got louder and kept scaring me a lot! I didn’t see any lightning so I just kept going. Even if I did see lightning there wasn’t really anywhere to go besides dropping straight down a boulder field where I would still be exposed. Eventually I walked out of the rain and storm and on to a sunny mesa. I was happy to be in the sun, but a little freaked out that now I was on top of a very flat mesa with absolutely no trees or anywhere to run for cover if needed. Essentially a wide open field at 12k feet. I checked Guthook and I had to go 4 miles across the field before descending to the road. I assumed there would be trees after I descended from the Mesa. I really wanted to stop and take a break but I knew we didn’t have time. Although I was in the sun, the clouds surrounding us were not looking any better. The sky kept thundering and it was making me very annoyed and anxious. I was thinking about how much adrenaline I must be using lately and how it probably plays a role in why I’ve been extremely exhausted after some of these races against the weather! About a mile before we started to descend, 12 pack started to see flashes of lightning on the ridge next to us. I started to run. Snow Mesa is probably one of the worst places to be caught in a bad storm. 12 pack and I got lucky. We made it all the way to the road without getting rained on! Once I was in the trees I felt so much better. When I turned around and looked at the Mesa we just came from the sky was almost black.

At the trailhead, we got some water and set up our tents before we got caught in the rain. It was 5pm when we got to the road. This means we still managed to wake up late, do more climbing than we have in a couple of days, hike 22 miles and still make it to camp early! I was happy. After sleeping in this morning I assumed I wouldn’t make it to camp until 7pm if I was lucky. The terrain today was very hard. The sun ended up coming out and staying out for long enough for me to dry things at camp. I couldn’t believe we Still didn’t get rained on by 8pm! I was so exhausted I didn’t feel like cooking dinner but I knew I needed to eat way more than I felt like. Eventually I made some mashed potatoes and ate some of my snacks. I could have easily fallen asleep by 6pm without doing any of my camp chores including eating. That would be bad! Anyways I did end up making it til about 9pm before falling asleep totally exhausted! I just walked 100 miles in 4 days through the mountains!

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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