Day 39: mile 656 – mile 680.8

Elevation gain: 4,547 ft

Elevation loss: 5,416 ft

Just as the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld says, “No Soup for YOU!”, that’s how we felt about the absence of switchbacks today. We had 3 gnarly climbs and descents which we have never had all in one day before. Most of the time this trail is “switchback central” but today it was a lot of straight up which made the climbs extra exhausting.

But let’s back up a bit first…It was a fabulous, quiet night and we woke to the alarm at 5:30am since we wanted to do another 25 or so miles today and there were some big climbs coming up (as you can see from the elevation profile).

We were greeted by another beautiful sunrise, one of the perks of setting that alarm early!

Link needed to finish up some blogging duties and post that since we didn’t know if there would be service again until Kennedy Meadows, so we ended up leaving camp at 6:45. We pretty much only stopped once for breakfast, once for lunch by a stream, and then not again till we got to our destination. I have to say it was fairly uneventful and not a lot to see but I tried to capture a few highlights.

We’ve definitely figured out how long it takes us to walk each mile depending on our pace which depends on the elevation and trail condition. So when we only had 2 miles to go it was like watching a pot boil. I swear we had walked at least 15 mins, but it would only be 4…that went on for a while and then finally got to the tent spot at 6:45pm and we were BEAT! My legs didn’t even feel like part of my body the last 4 miles. Thank goodness I didn’t come across any rattle snakes because I don’t think I would’ve been able to get out of the way very fast! We are camped by a stream which is so nice to have unlimited water and we don’t feel any wind either!

Since there wasn’t a whole lot to report today, I thought I’d talk a little about our sleeping quilt and pad since some of you have been asking about what we use. Our quilt is from Enlightened Equipment, 20 degree and down filled. We had heard so many people rave about quilts in the past but we just couldn’t believe that it could be warmer and more comfortable than our sleeping bags were, but IT IS! About 18” of the foot box is closed and it has 2 snaps for us to each use around our necks to keep the quilt in place when rolling over. We got the extra long because Link is 6’2” so it comes all the way up to his chin. For me, it can definitely go over my head if I need to be warmer. It does come with straps/clips to secure it to the sleeping pad, but we found it’s warmer without those because we can tuck the quilt under our bodies which decreases the amount of warm air escaping. We also got the durable water repellant treatment on it because we do wake up to condensation sometimes. Even when we pack it up damp on the top, it’s dry by the time we unpack it that night! The idea behind the quilt is that the down part of the bag you usually sleep on isn’t keeping you warm anyway because there is no loft, so it cuts down on weight as well. Our quilt weighs roughly over 2 lbs and I love it!!

Top of the quilt
Bottom of quilt-foot box

The other gear item I thought I’d talk about is our sleeping pad. It’s the ExPed Duo which is 2” thick, air filled, and also about 2 lbs. It has two different chambers so we can each decide how firm we want our part of the mattress. I like mine a little on the soft side, while Link likes his side more firm, and both is possible which is really nice. I blow it up with this cool inflator bag that comes with the mattress (they call it a “schnozzel pumpbag”) so I’m not having to blow into it myself. Our last air mattress needed that and I ended up getting light headed every time! Even when there is no wind, or it’s raining outside and I have to blow it up inside the tent, I have just breathed a little air into it and it has inflated without any issues. The one problem is the possibility of the mattress popping, like when we had that slow leak a few weeks ago. But we each started carrying 2/3 of a Z lite pad as well for a few reasons: it can be a back up in case we get a hole in the air mattress, it gives added warmth when sleeping on the snow, plus we end up sitting on it or putting all our stuff from the packs on it while we are trying to organize everything. It’s turned out to be a handy addition and only 6oz.

So we should arrive in Kennedy Meadows tomorrow afternoon sometime and then we will take a zero the day after that before we head into the Sierra. We are also excited to have our friend, Matt joining us for a couple nights on the trail! He and I have run a bunch of marathons together as well as a couple 50 mile races in Catalina so I know he’s a crazy work horse and will fit right in seamlessly! Now I need to go brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, stretch and take out my contacts but I really wish someone would just come and do it all for me…I’m tired! Thanks for reading and always being so supportive with your comments…Link and I LOVE THEM!