Destination: Benson Lake Trail
Cumulative Miles: 2541.5
It sprinkled on our tent last night. Yet when we woke, the sky was clear. We packed up our gear and started hiking by 6:45am. The morning was relatively warm and the sky was clear.
As we made our hike toward Benson Pass, the blue sky slowly clouded over. By lunch time we saw the last of the sky. Just as we were finishing up eating, we started getting light sprinkles. We put our pack covers on then, so we wouldn't need to stop later to put them on.
As we made our final ascent toward Benson Pass, at 10,150 feet, we heard the thunder start rumbling. It was an uneasy feeling to know that we were heading up to a pass with thunder overhead. We debated stopping to see if the thunderstorm would move on, but in the end concluded that we were close enough to the pass, and the thunder was moving in the other direction.
We made it up and over the pass with no real thunder, and only light rain. Not wanting to tempt fate, we didn't take our standard break at the top of the pass. The view of the sky on the north side of the pass was a stark contrast to the view looking back. Behind us, all the ridges were shrouded in clouds and rain. Before us, were puffy white clouds and blue sky.
That changed quickly as we made our descent. Soon the rain came and the thunder. It rolled heavy around us, and we were glad to be heading downhill. The wet rocks, and bone-jarring steep descent was not pleasurable, but we were dropping down away from the thunder clouds.
Our goal for the day was another high pass, or just past it. We decided that it would be better if we didn't climb back up. The rain was getting heavier, and we didn't know what the thunder had in mind for that pass. It was a hard decision to make, because it almost certainly sets us up to arrive at Sonora Pass a day later than we wanted. We have the food to do that, but we are running out of time.
Daylight hours are short, and the trail is difficult here. It is hard to make up lost miles, without night hiking. We'll see if we can make them up tomorrow, but the morning is offering us some steep climbs, and we're not sure if this weather will pass by morning time. For now, the thunder has stopped, but the rain still falls lightly.
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