Elevation gain: 800
Elevation loss: 1700
A 4 day trip is way too short when ur used to a whole week. My legs always start feeling the best on day 3-4, but now we’re walking back to the car! We had our alarm set for 5:50 so we could b on the trail by 6:30, but we were awoken at 5:30 by head lamps on the tent. This was so strange because we hadn’t seen anyone since Fri, day one, and now we have some super gnarly people walking in the dark in sub 20 degree temps?! I know it was sub 20 degrees for them because when we got up it was only 20 even though we were nestled under a bunch of trees and about 50 yards from the lake last night. Strange that I didn’t feel as cold as the night before, with only 9 layers on this time too! We haven’t mentioned what else comes w the cold temps…our feet are surrounded by stuff we don’t want to leave out to freeze—my contacts, propane canister, camera, Delorm, phone, battery pack, sawyer filter. And I’m sure u all know how little room there is for even ur feet in a mummy bag, let alone all this other paraphernalia! Anyway…we were up and getting ready in the dark, using our head lamps and trying to do the bare minimum in order to leave on schedule.
No breakfast or even coffee this morn. And we did it…6:33!! We only needed the head lamps while we hiked for about 20-30 mins before it was light enough to not fall on our faces without them. The Sierras love to have as many rocks and camouflaged tree roots all over the trail as often as possible to help u get tripped up. We had 800 ft up as well as some PUDs (pointless ups and downs) during the 4.4 miles back to Duck Pass.
We must have been feeling energetic cuz we crushed that and then made our way down the other side by Barney Lake before finally stopping for our first break at Skelton Lake. It was then that we realized we had done the 7 miles in 2.5 hrs…it was only 9am w 2 miles to the car! Why are some days so easy and others so darn hard?! Skelton is really pretty so we stopped for a good 20ish mins to appreciate the last of the beautiful wilderness and have a tortilla to tide us over. We had our minds set on Schat’s Bakery in Bishop for brunch and treats. The last 2 miles were uneventful besides all the day hikers who all wanted to stop and chat…they didn’t know we had goals to achieve, man! None of the conversations were brief since everyone was shocked we had spent 3 nights in the cold…they don’t know I get to sleep w a furnace. We made it to the car by 10:15, on the road 20 mins later, and eating croissant breakfast sandwiches and cinnamon rolls by 11:15…YUMMMM! The trip was amazing w both Bri and I saying we wish we had just 2 more nights. We had no idea what to expect in October, and we both couldn’t believe how much better it was than anything we could have imagined. Till next time, Wilderness…