Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day 8 : Middle Fork Kings River 9,489 ft asl

Sunday July 6, 2014
20 Miles Today
156 Total Miles

Leaving the Burkets was like leaving my family. We had a lot of time to share with each other and my heart ached to leave. I left our camp and hiked all day. That would sum it up. However it was a much more interesting day than the summary would indicate. 

The evolution creek crossing is one where you have to get your feet wet. We crossed slightly upstream of the ford on a gravel bar. The water was just over my ankles. Smart me took my socks and gaiters off and just wore my shoes. However smart that sounds, when I got to the other side I put my socks and gaiters back on with my soaking wet shoes . Obviously I hiked with wet feet for most of the morning. It was all uphill. 

I climbed about four thousand vertical feet in the morning and climbed down about three thousand vertical feet in the afternoon. I started at around eight thousand foot elevation and climbed to Muir Pass at twelve thousand feet. Then I dropped down to about nine thousand feet here. 

It is amazing what a week of acclimatization will do. Last week I was huffing and puffing to climb from four thousand feet to eight thousand feet with a twenty five pound pack. Today I climbed from eight to twelve with a thirty five pound pack without hardly any struggle. Yes is was a long day, but it was a day of eating! 

I ate all day and was still able to eat a full dinner when I got here. I have no idea how many calories I burned but I bet I ate around three thousand calories today. 

Muir Pass is a gradual climb on the north. It seemed to take forever to climb up. Today was cloudy too, which added to the drama. Every-so-often it would start to sprinkle. I kept putting my rain poncho on and taking it off. 

Each person I passed today had a different opinion as to what the future weather was going to be. Some were predicting a half to a full inch of rain. Rain complicates a backpacking trip. Things go from somewhat comfortable to primitive really quick. Fortunately it seems the rain is at least delayed. I was able to get here, setup camp and get cleaned up  at then air dry my clothes in the warm sun.

As for the pass itself, it is a desolation. Lots of bare exposed rocks. Not much can grow at twelve thousand feet. The next pass is Mather. I will cross it on Tueday. I am going to drop my mileage down to around twelve miles per day. That gets me to Guitar Lake at the foot of Mt Whitney on Saturday evening. My plan is to sleep till around two AM at the climb Mt Whitney by the light of the full moon to arrive at the summit in time to see the sunrise at five fifty-eight am.

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