July 4, 2016 – 8.5 miles
2,900 feet of elevation gain
They say that the rewards are sweeter when you have to work for them. Well that was the case today! We thought today was going to be 8-9 miles and only 1,500 feet of elevation. That would be true if you only looked at the starting and ending elevations. Boy were we wrong!!
Let me start from the beginning. I was awake at 5:20 this morning as the roaring creek, 30 feet away woke me up. On top of that the sound of water made it hard to go back to sleep since I had to pee. I waited as long as I could so I didn’t wake Amy, but by 6:00 I couldn’t wait any longer. We both ended up getting up and starting our new ritual of coffee then packing up and having breakfast further up the trail. I have come to enjoy this as the hiking is easy in the cool morning air and we have seen much more wildlife out. That was the case this morning. Not more than 10 minutes from camp we ran into a young buck on the trail coming straight at us. After a brief stare down he ran off into the woods.
After a short mile and a half we got to Piute Pass Trail and officially left the JMT/PCT. With that came much less people today. The hard work now started. We climbed what felt like was straight up only to drop straight back down to where we had started. This seemed to repeat for the next 3-4 miles. Half way we stopped for breakfast trail side as it was the only place to sit. Thank goodness I had brought some extra water from camp since Piute Creek was down in a gorge below. After breakfast we got our first reward of the day a tiny swimming hole next to raging river waterfall. It was so perfect we stopped and both took a dip to cool off. After being refreshed by the cool water we took off up hill again.
At about lunch time the trail flattened out for a bit and we again were reward with an amazing forest area that was filled with tall green grasses and wildflowers. During this time we crossed about 7 streams that you couldn’t do without getting your feet wet. We have had more water crossings this trip then all of the other years of backpacking combined.
My legs started to really feel fatigued at this point and it was getting hard to not let it affect my mood. I let Amy take the lead and just tried to take in the sights around me. We got to the trailhead for Lower Honeymoon Lake at around 1:15. The trail is seldom used which required a lot of mental focus to avoid becoming lost. The trail was only a mile long but gained 1,000 feet. Which meant we were walking up about a 50 degree angle. We were both exhausted but when we got to the lake we found we have this breathtaking lake all to our selves. We got cleaned up and are now just sitting here enjoying the rest and watching the sun go down.
Today was hard but we find some of the most beautiful spots in the Sierras require some work. If not everyone would be here.
P.S. We saw two more deer today taking the total up to 11. We are on a mission see three more to bring our daily average up to two, which would be a record for us.
Thanks for reading! Brian