I slept in a bit late in the cold gulch. There was no avoiding the condensation and frost on my tent, so I took some minutes to towel it off as I was packing up. I started walking around 8:30.
I was groggy when I first woke and couldn’t get going like the previous two mornings. I slept in until 6:30 and started hiking about 7:30.
First, back up to the trail. Then, up a long creek valley to a pass backed by a strong freezing wind. I wished I still had my coat on desperately when I stopped for a snack.
I woke at 5 again. I heard Pilgrim cooking breakfast as I was preparing for the day in my tent. The cold wind, which had been absent the night before, was whipping our tents. It made packing our tents up like a solo game of parachute. The wind would be a theme of the day.
I came out to finish packing up around 6. The sun was up, but not over the mountain, and there was only a little bit of sunlight visible on the far side of the creek. I kept my coat on against the cold wind as I hiked out at 6:15, again beating Pilgrim out of camp.
I woke up at first light and actually started getting ready. As a result, I reached the point of exiting my tent at sunrise and got to watch it.
Even though I stopped to collect water on the way out of camp, I left well ahead of Pilgrim. I kept looking back for him as I climbed up to Knife Edge, but he wasn’t on my tail. I also saw a weasel of some sort.
Knowing I was doing a short day for sure, I slept in an extra half hour and then spent some time sewing up my shoe and my glove. I started packing up at 7 when the sun first hit my tent and immediately started warming it up. At that same moment, flies started gathering on the outside of the rainfly. I started hiking between a quarter and half past eight.
I thought it was going to be miserable in the early part of the day with lots of blowdowns, but it wasn’t that bad. The only thing slowing me down was taking needlessly long breaks, but why not when you don’t intend to go far? Waldo passed me quietly and without a word during such a break. No idea he was behind me. Doubt I’ll see him again.
The walking was much drier and smoother today, and my cough, though still extant, seems to be improving somewhat.
I woke up with the birds before 6 again, wishing I could sleep more and knowing I shouldn’t, feeling a bit sore from the lumpy and slightly tilted ground. As usual, I started hiking at 7:30.
For the most part, the trail stayed high on the ridges and mountaintops, where rocks were many and trees were small and clustered in patches. For the most part, the only large wildlife up there is marmots, pikas, chipmunks, and swallows gliding on the cold breezes that varied across place and time.
Is it really almost three weeks I’ve been out here now?
I woke up before 6, before my 6:30 alarm, wishing I could have slept longer. I couldn’t, despite my immense grogginess. I figured coffee would help, but the breakfast room didn’t open until 6:30 and it was clearly going to be too much of a hassle to find a place to plug in the little single cup maker in my room. So I just looked at the internet until 6:45 and went back to the breakfast room…just in time for both carafes to run out of their first batch of the day. What luck. But there was juice, and I didn’t have to wait long for a fresh batch.
I had a banana and a yogurt, but I didn’t intend to subsist entirely on Continental breakfast. It was just enough to keep me going until I was ready to leave.