Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 53 - Donohue Pass

Sunday June 7

I have good days and not-so-good days. Today was a not-so-good day because I didn't have much energy. I don't know if I'm fighting off a cold, but I also had a mild headache all day. 

Our goal today was to get over Donohue Pass before the thunderstorms developed. The day started with cloudless skies, but it was obvious that clouds would develop over the mountains again. 

Because there were clear skies in the early morning, there was frost. Our first stream crossing involved walking across a log with rushing water below. Halfway across, I realized that there was frost on the log; my feet were starting to slide!  Fortunately I used my trekking pole to stabilize myself and was able to scramble off without mishap. 

On the way up there were some amazing views of the mountains.

As we approached the pass, I started to feel the effects of the elevation again. My legs had no energy and I couldn't catch my breath. I told Willy to go on ahead as I suffered up the slope. I finally reached the top at 8:30. There were a couple of other hikers at the top.

On the way down it was difficult to find the trail because it was covered by snow. Fortunately we followed tracks in the snow and found the trail as we moved below the snow line. The trail descends 2,000 feet into Lyell Canyon and my legs began to feel like spaghetti. 

Once on the valley floor, the trail descended gradually for ten miles. There were countless meadows along the way and a crystal clear river. 

Willy led the way, but I couldn't keep up with him. At times I couldn't even see him ahead on the trail. My legs just didn't have energy today. We met two Forest Rangers who were on their way up to Donohue Pass. They were interested in our through hike, but didn't ask to see our permits. 

We finally arrived at Tuolumne Meadows at 12:30.

We then had a long road walk to get to the store.

We bought supplies for five days to get us to Northern Kennedy Meadows. The store did not have a good variety of snacks, but I found enough to get by. We both bought lunch next door at the small restaurant. 

Now, let me talk a bit about sleeping clothes. I brought a set of Marino wool long-sleeve tops and full-length bottoms. I also have a Smartwool beanie cap. Finally, I started with a pair of Darn Tough socks. I never wear my sleeping clothes while hiking. They are reserved as "dry" clothes should everything else be wet  

At night, I layer the tops and bottoms with other clothes to stay warm. I often wear my hiking pants and just pull the leggings over them. I do the same with the tops, and also wear my down jacket and flannel shirt as well. This usually keeps me warm enough, although on some sub-freezing mornings I still feel cold. 

I swapped out my Darn Tough socks with a pair of wool Wigwam socks. The Darn Tough socks did not keep my feet warm enough. 

I like my sleeping clothes now. I always keep them stuffed in my sleeping bag ready to put on as I fluff up my sleeping bag and get ready for bed. 

I am camped tonight at the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, approximately  PCT mile 942.4. The elevation here is 8,419 feet. 

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