Tots distance: 687.2
Camp tonight is 8,000 feet on the last of the four climbs I had today. It is cold and getting colder by the minute as the heat from the sun drifts further and further away. There are incredible views of the sierras ahead of me including mount Whitney. There are a few other hikers scattered atop this hill and everyone has retreated to their tents for warmth and sleep.
There was a gorgeous sunrise this morning just over walker pass and I couldn’t resist its call to wake up and get the day started. The normal routine ensued and by 6:45 I was off. I was slow moving for the first few hours climbing the first mountain, while I was searching for signal and brushing the soreness off my bones from the 40 mile day before.
Eventually it wore off and I got moving up the mountain. I hadn’t looked at the profile of the day and thank God I didn’t because it would have been a discouraging view. As soon as I summited I went straight back down only to cut between two peaks and rise again to climb another.
A few miles went by and I stopped for water at Spanish creek and found 15 hikers nestled in a camp spot eating, drinking and sleeping during the heat of the day. I spoke with a few and was complimented on my badass hat by a woman and left the crew to climb the third peak.
I feel safe in assuming that when most people look at elevation profiles and see a downhill there is relief and motivation for an easy section of trail and I would mostly follow in that thinking until today. Every time I have gone down hill I feel my muscles cramp, my bones take a pounding and my gut get tossed around and whatever’s in there slosh back and forth. Then when I go uphill I get this rush of endorphins that make me want to keep going and I rarely stop until I’ve reached the top. I absolutely have fallen in love with the quickened pace of my heart, the drips of sweat down my nose and the heavy breath that makes me feel like an engine moving a train.
I was done with my goal for the day around five and noticed there was another mountain to be climbed right after the creek I was at and I figured I might as weel get started on it tonight, but half way up there was no convincing my body to stop. The sun was dropping behind the summit and I wanted to chase it down. I wanted to stand at the top, 8,000 feet up and watch the sun sink below the horizon. I wanted to, for one last time today, push my body forward and work for a reward and a reward I was given. The golden crest of the ridges before me were illuminated by the setting sun and the sierras erupted out of the earth and stood like statues, frozen in time. Behind me purple was rising from the valley and hovering over the lesser mountains to the south.
Laying in my bag I feel accomplished. I feel like I did exactly what I was supposed to do and found myself in sync with the world around me as if everything lined up and I experienced harmony in the wake of the universe.