Up well before dawn this morning, and the fog was still hovering. Tent was wet, but not as wet as the others’ because they had opted to camp under the trees, which have a habit of gathering fog and dripping it down like rain.
I was packed up as quickly as anyone and the first to leave camp as the sun started coming into view. I set out into the midst of the lava field. Someone in there, Owl caught me up, but he hadn’t taken off his warm pants before starting out, so I left him behind as he changed out of them.
I stopped for my mid-morning break after a little under five miles, eager to take advantage of a tree-covered in the sea of lava. All four of the others passed me during those fifteen minutes and I didn’t catch them again until the end of the day.
When I finally came to the end of the sea of lava and worked my way up the side of a partially burned ridge to Scott Pass, I stopped next to South Mathieu Lake for lunch. A chill wind poured over the pass, so I couldn’t stay sitting still for long. I packed up and got moving.
Soon, the wind brought a light dusting of snow. I stopped for a snack and pulled on my jacket and snow pants and put my Packa on my pack. I also filled up on water at the next creek I crossed. My hands were freezing as I filtered it, but it sure beat having to do the same after the sun went down.
With the last of the afternoon, I entered to the two mile stretch of the trail through the Obsidian Limited Entry Area, a section of trail through and on actual obsidian. Chunks of it underfoot. Obsidian Falls flowed over it. Very cool. But the rules for the area are no camping and stay on the trail, so I got out the other side as quickly as possible.
I had to pull out my headlamp to do the last couple of miles over cold, snowy hillsides. Finally, I came to the Linton Meadows Trail junction, where comments indicated there were tentsites to be found around. In fact, Owl and Phoenix’s Duplex was just a little past it down by the edge of the trees. I shouldn’t have let them pass me because I couldn’t see anything else level and large enough, and it was getting late. I went on maybe another half mile past them until I came across a just barely big enough shelf of snow above the trail. Looked pretty flat.
I haven’t mentioned this, but for the last five miles I had been desperately holding my bowels. I was done. Couldn’t hold it anymore. This little spot was going to have to be enough.
The second thing I did upon arriving was set up my tent and pull all my stuff under the vestibule. I put on another layer of clothes, climbed into my sleeping bag, and only then started cooking in the vestibule. It was pretty dang late by the time I was ready to go to sleep.
Total distance: 20 miles