S. of Hat Pass(1819.8) to Trail Creek(1846.9)
Total Miles: 1603.1
Elevation: 9,772 feet
I was so tired when I woke up this morning. I really wanted to sleep in, but I knew I had to hike some miles today. The hordes of mosquitos that have been following me for the last few days were even more relentless this morning. I ended up put on some deet before I even started hiking, which is rare for me. I started the morning off with a nice climb to get my blood pumping. I had heard from some weekend backpackers yesterday that I could expect to have cell service from the top of the pass. I was extremely pleased that they were right. I had two bars of LTE service. I wasn’t ready to take a break yet, but I really needed to get my blog posted. I spent about twenty minutes doing just that. I didn’t even bother sitting down. After about twenty five minutes I got three posts uploaded to my blog. Once the last one was complete I started out again. Too late I remembered that I wanted to check my email and a weather report. Oh well, I’m sure there is nothing important in my email, but a weather report would have been useful.
I carefully made my way down from the pass. I had to go around a few snow fields. It was pretty obvious to me that this section of Wyoming got more snow than Colorado this year. I haven’t seen this much snow since I first hit Colorado. I would have thought that it would all have melted by now. The trail was really sloppy from all of the snow melt. I resigned myself to hiking in wet socks and shoes for the rest of the day. If my feet weren’t getting wet from the trail being a stream they were going to be wet from all of the stream, creek, and lake crossings.
One of the few crossings that had s dry route across
The day consisted of hiking up mountains and then dropping back down into valleys. All of the valleys had these awesome lakes. It made for beautiful hiking, but it was slow going. I guess if it was easy everyone would do it. Once again I was reminded of Kings Canyon National Park. I would have liked to have lingered by a lake for awhile, but the mosquitoes were relentless. I took quick breaks throughout the day. I couldn’t stop for longer than 5-10 minutes, because of the blood suckers. I was also dodging the weather. There were several quick storms that rolled in. I was lucky enough to dodge most of them. Twice I stopped to put on my rain gear. Both times the rain/hail was over within five minutes.
Clear skies and pretty scenery
This is what I saw for most of the day
Lake #7 of the day
Lake #10 and it wasn’t even noon yet
Around midday I had to hike over Lester Pass. I could see it way in the distance and I could see a rather large snow field at the top. I didn’t look too bad, but hiking on snow at 11,000 feet always makes me nervous. When I climbed to the top of the pass I had about 20 vertical feet of snow to climb up. It was just slushy enough to give me really good grip. I hiked up and tried not to think about what would happen if I slipped.
View from Lester Pass
View looking north from Lester Pass
After heading down from the pass the scenery stayed the same, lots of big boulders and lakes, but the hiking became more difficult. I walked on more snow for the next 10 miles than I did for most of Colorado after the flip. I disconcerting thing was that most of the snow I had to hike on was snow bridges. A snow bridge happens when the bottom layer of snow begins to melt, leaving the top looking solid, but really it is thin and easy to break through. I hate walking on snow bridges and try to avoid them if I can. One area looked pretty bad, but I talked to some people on horseback that had just come from the area. If the horse could make it over without falling through I was pretty sure that I could to.
Rapidly melting snow
I was shocked to learn that 4 horses crossed this steep traverse. What amazing animals
Although the day was more difficult than I had thought it would be it was one of my favorite days. Things got easier for the last five miles of the day. My pace finally went back to normal and it felt good to be ndking good progress again. I had wanted to quit hiking by eight o’clock, but I was in a crappy area to camp in. I was hiking next to a raging river that went downhill. There was absolutely no place to stop. I ended up finding a less than ideal spot at eight forty five. It was beginning to get dark and I didn’t have any other options. I just had to make due. Just before camp I had to cross the raging river twice. Both times there wasn’t a safe dry crossing. I had to get my feet wet again. They weren’t exactly dry at this point, but they weren’t soaking wet either. It looks like I can look forward to putting on cold and wet socks and shoes tomorrow.
Last lake of the day
Sunset on my way to finding a place to stop
Oh yeah, I hit 1,600 miles today
“Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how long it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination.”
- Joseph B. Wirthlin