Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 52 - Island Pass

Saturday June 6

Mammoth Lakes was a great place to rest, but today we returned to the trail. Willy's friends. Jay and Josh, arrived at our motel room at 6:30 and we took them to breakfast at the Breakfast Club restaurant. 

They delivered us to the trail at 8:30. We all took pictures and said our goodbyes. From left to right, Jay, Willy, and Josh.

Willy and I immediately took the wrong trail and walked for 15 minutes before discovering our error. Of course we had to walk back uphill to find the PCT, which, by the way, was very poorly marked. 

Our plan for today was to hike 15 to 20 miles so that tomorrow we can cross Donohue Pass before thunderstorms develop. The recent weather pattern starts with clear skies in the mornings, but by 11 AM, thunderstorms develop over the higher mountains. Donohue Pass is the northernmost point on the PCT over 11,000 feet, and we don't want to have to worry about storms at that altitude. 

With our confused start, we lost a half hour of hiking time. Fortunately the trail was easy walking and we moved quickly. We decided to take the PCT High Trail rather than the John Muir Trail alternate. The trail crossed the road at the Agnew Meadow Trail Head. This is the first road on the PCT since Kennedy Meadows. 

The trail climbed steadily and gained almost 3,000 feet. It made for tired legs. By mid afternoon we arrived at Thousand Island Lake.

We finally headed over Island Pass at 10,224 feet.

We were getting tired and headed toward an established campsite a mile down the other side of the pass. There was an approaching thunderstorm, so we made camp quickly. I ended up eating my dinner in my tent as the rain pelted down!

It's interesting that I never used my umbrella. I saw some people using an umbrella in the desert to provide shade, but for me it was never really hot enough to want to use mine. It also might be because I had well-ventilated clothing. Both my shirt and pants were from Rail Riders. Both had built in mesh to allow for good air flow. Also, the only time it rained on me, my raincoat and rain pants were sufficient to keep me dry and the rain didn't last very long. Had I known that we were going to have a cool spring in the desert, I would have sent it to Cascade Locks and not carried it through the desert. 

I am camped at PCT mile 925.9. The elevation here is 9,627 feet. 

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