Destination: Phipps Creek
Cumulative Miles: 1246.5
Our day started with a climb to the ridge. Going back and forth through countless switchbacks, we slowly made our way back up to the ridge we had been walking yesterday. The vast serrated edge cut through the sky as far as we could see, point after rocky point. Far to the north we could see yesterday's summit, Tinker Knob.
Rocks with muted sage green lichen, and vibrant almost neon green lichen matched the sage and nearby flowers perfectly. The wind blew strong, but not hard enough to push us off the edge. It was blowing enough that it crossed our minds though, a strong gust at the wrong time could offer only fateful consequences.
As we dropped down from the ridge, over hills saturated with Mules Ears and Lupines, we ran into Uncle Tom, our old friend from the MeGaTex crew. He, and the rest of our old hiking companions had braved their way through the Sierras. We sat down and talked with him for half an hour, listening and sharing our experiences. We email our journals to one another, so we had a pretty solid knowledge on one another's experiences.
It was sad to find out that he is traveling this leg without the others. They all are playing in Tahoe, while he hikes ever onward. This means that we will very likely not get to see Train, Wizard, General Lee, and Axilla again, which is disappointing, but is the nature the trail.
We continued on, after saying goodbye to Uncle Tom, down to Barker Pass and further down the hill until entering the Desolation Wilderness. Walking through the forest, granodiorite rocks made graceful presence at first in scattered lumps, and soon in large glacier polished slabs. Unfortunately the trail is not all rock, as it passes through some boggy areas dominated by mosquitoes. It did not take long before we were swarmed immeasurably by the blood-lusting fiends.
We stopped long enough to put long sleeves and head nets on to make the hike a little more tolerable. Sunlight hitting our bug nets cast significant glare, much like sunlight on a dirty windshield. At times, when walking into the sun, it was difficult to see the uneven tread beneath our feet. Fortunately, we were only one mile from Phipps Creek, where we planned to camp.
Once at camp, we ate a quick dinner and dove into our tents to get away from the mosquitoes. As this is written, there are easily one thousand mosquitoes at our tent door, trying desperately to come in for a dinner.
Tomorrow we enter the lakes basin of desolation wilderness, which is said to be one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the entire trail.
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