July 5, 2016–13 miles
2,300 ft elevation gain
3,000 ft elevation loss
After Bri’s post last night, it turned into mosquito Armageddon! I felt like we were spending more time watching each other for blood suckers than enjoying the gorgeous views. We always spray our clothes w Permethrin before the trip, but it appears that when they are desperate they’ll do anything for the sweet red stuff, and kept biting us right through the fabric! So we were in the tent by 7:30pm not only in order to have a reprieve, but also because we find that we are just so darn tired each night. We’ve been camped above 10,000 ft every night and then hiking even higher throughout the day and it seems to take a lot out of us! We were asleep by 8, but then Bri woke up at 10pm to go to the bathroom and we noticed that not only were there 5 trillion stars in the sky (which is always so amazing to see), but also that the tent was pretty wet already w dew (we didn’t put the rainfly on so we could check out the stars periodically throughout the night as well as enjoy the fresh air). So Bri put the rainfly on and thank goodness he did…everything was sopping wet in the morning! Since we weren’t in a rush to get to Piute Lake just 9 miles away, we thought we could relax w 2 cups of coffee this morning but, of course, the darn buggers had a different plan. Because we went to bed so early, we were out of the tent before 6am which is apparently earlier than the mosquitoes like to get up. We were able to watch the sun come up over the extremely calm lake where the reflection of the mountains seemed even more crystal clear than the actual mountains themselves…it was crazy!
During this complete silence, all of a sudden Bri and I heard an extremely loud rumbling coming from the hill behind us. It sounded like a very large animal sprinting toward us and all I could think was…”BEAR!!” We both lept up, hearts pounding to see 2 huge deer chasing each other down the mountain toward us. I don’t think they even knew we were there since we could tell this lake was not visited very often, if at all. It definitely took me a few mins to calm back down…phew! This brought our deer total to 13 just like that…cool! Soon after, we were rushing around like crazy people trying to pack everything away so we could get the heck out of “The Land of the Crazed Flying Vampires”. We were hiking by 8am and walking toward Piute Pass. We passed a couple really beautiful glaciers, and only saw 2 people for the next 6 miles or so.
We stopped to filter water at the most tranquil, beautiful stream not knowing that just a few hundred feet further we would have to cross this stream w no easy way across without getting our feet wet AGAIN. We were definitely all about wanting to find ANY other option than this so ended up crossing the stream at 3 different places in order to get to where we needed to return to the trail. No one can say we aren’t resourceful!
We ate lunch at the top of Piute Pass at 12:30 and couldn’t believe how much snow and water there was compared to when we were here w the kids last summer. Instead of only 2 lakes, there were SIX! Everything was so green, there was an abundance of wildflowers, and HUGE patches of snow. We thought this would be a good time to glissade down a portion of the snow…Bri w no problems, but of course I collected way too much speed at the end and landed flat on my tush into the rocky stream below…FAIL! And, yay…Bri caught it all on video for all to laugh at for years to come. We were then at Piute lake by 1:30 which is where we would be camping except that there was so much water, the spot we stayed w the kids was not possible to get to (and we knew that was the best camping spot around).
Plus we couldn’t imagine spending 6 more hours slapping mosquitoes away just to sleep there and hike a mere 4 miles out to the car in the morning. If we continued to the car now, we would be home by 9-ish, miss traffic, AND see the kiddos and Bri’s mom…this sounded like a much better plan! We headed to the car, amazed at how much more beautiful everything was than just last year due to the excess of water and snow, and made it down by 3pm.
Just before reaching the car we came across something we had never encountered before…a guy stopped us to chat about the trail ahead while he continuously lit up his dooby and blowing smoke all over us. So random! We walked in the house by 9:30 to a fiercely wagging tail, and hugs by all…good choice by us!! Hope you enjoyed our posts…Amy