Halloween Adventure : Kings Canyon by Night

How’s this for scary: I’m hiking up into the trail’s highest and most difficult terrain without enough warm clothes, or a warm enough sleeping bag, and maybe not enough food, and tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. a winter storm will hit, bringing a predicted 18 inches of snow by Saturday night. To top it off I’m hiking up a canyon along a precipitous cliff with a rushing river below. Somewhere. In the shadowy depths. Because it’s night. Once, I start with the glimpse of my own pole shadow coming toward me, so hard that I gasp and recoil in horror only to realize its true nature. But I have to keep hiking.
I was about to take a half day and rest at the hot springs but then I learned of the impending storm. I wish I was done with the Sierras. It’ll take me nine more days at least. I’ll try to go over Muir Pass and spend the next day zeroing in the lowlands while the storm passes. Hopefully Sunday will warm up enough to make 17 miles per day from then on. I tried to charge my phone today but it wasn’t meant to be; I left it charging at Muir Trail Ranch while I bathed and did laundry at Blayney Hot Spring nearby, but didn’t end up with much. Luke, the guy living there that I talked to, was cool and he’s the one that told me about the storm. I believe what he says, that it could be deadly, and I know I’m ill prepared, but I’ve got plenty of food – still about twenty pounds I’d guess – that if I can just keep warm at night I’ll be fine. But that hasn’t been the case. The last two nights I haven’t slept much. Last night while camped at 10,400′ Marie Lake, trying to gain extra insulation by putting my sleeping bag inside the bivy, I woke to tons of condensation in between the two. Luckily I caught it early and stripped off the bivy. All was dry by morning. The night before, sleeping in an unlocked motel room at vvr I thought how nice it would be to sleep in a bed with heat. The heater cycled on and off and woke me every time it did, and the mattresses insulation was so poor that I froze. The day before, waking at Iva Bell well before dawn, I laid around for a bit, then soaked as the world came alive, then bombed all the way up and over Silver Pass and back down to 8,000′ to VVR, which was deserted. The hike out to VVR sucks, as does the Selden Pass on both sides. I don’t know what exactly it’s like but I’m thinking taking Goodale Pass and then road walking to Florence Lake via Mono Hot Spring and then hiking back to the PCT via MTR would be way easier. It’s 22 miles according to Luke. I thought a lot about Lisa and Belluno today.

Advertisements