Day 18, August 30, 2014

A chilly morning at Rae Lakes.

A chilly morning at Rae Lakes.

Finally pulled myself from the sleeping bag at about 6:45. Betty was long gone, I assume, to hike the 12 miles over Glen Pass and Kearsarge Pass to resupply. I have her tent, sleeping bag, and many days’-worth of food to carry to Vidette Meadows, where we will meet up (according to the plan, anyway) tomorrow.

A natural formation? I think not...

A natural formation? I think not…

This morning, I feel great gratitude for my jacket and hat.

This morning, I feel great gratitude for my jacket and hat.

Kept hoping for blue sky like yesterday, but it’s a high overcast with a little wind. Not the best day for doing laundry. After breakfast, I went back to bed for a couple of hours. Ah, the luxury of a layover day! Was waiting for the sun, but it didn’t happen so I finally got up and did the laundry anyway. My white shirt took some real old-timey scrubbing, and it is still less than clean. Now the laundry is spread all over a boulder in the weak sun, so it’s easy to see where my camp is. Everything is weighted down with stones, because the wind seems to be picking up.

The view from my lunch spot.

The view from my lunch spot.

At lunchtime, I took my meal of reconstituted refried beans and crackers up along the trail and found a beautiful place overlooking the lake to sit and munch. Saw Yellie, who we haven’t seen since Purple Lake. It’s funny: before I recognized her, I knew her by the tapping of her trekking poles. Everyone has their own distinct cadence. Saw the mother -daughter duo of Trish and Dawn who we met at Muir Trail Ranch. We saw them last when they were camped above upper Palisades Lake, before Mather Pass. They were debating whether to camp at Rae Lakes or continue over Glen Pass. So they took out their sleeping bags and took a nap. Later, they left to climb the pass today.

Even in death, the trees are perfect.

Even in death, the trees are perfect.

My campsite, and the tent where I spent a good part of the day.

My campsite, and the tent where I spent a good part of the day.

After lunch, I napped for about an hour and a half (making the most of my layover day!) and was awakened by blustery winds and a hot sun. I’d better get out and enjoy what’s left of the day.

The day cleared up for a little while. This is the view from my laundry room.

The day cleared up for a little while. This is the view from my laundry room.

Clark’s Nutcrackers are calling with such varied calls: crackles like crows, high keening seagull calls, and something that sounds almost like purring. Such interesting and talkative birds! I wouldn’t call their vocalizations “singing” exactly, but I imagine that to their ears they are producing beautiful sounds. A few evenings ago, I heard what I thought was the banging and clanging of pots and pans at a nearby camp. I went exploring in that direction to find out who our neighbors were, and found nothing. Then I saw that it was a Clark’s rubbing its beak against a dead limb on the top of a tree, making for an even more varied repertoire of sounds.

The other window from my laundry room.

The view out the other window of my laundry room.

5:25 PM– a fine dust has settled on everything inside the tent. Big winds. Time to start dinner I guess. There’s a young couple from San Francisco next door. They have a Tarptent Double Rainbow tent. Nice. I watched them set it up, which was sort-of like having a little TV show. Fairly mundane things become very interesting out here, if other people are doing them.

Sunlight on water! I wish I could capture the movement as well as the sparkle.

Sunlight on water! I wish I could capture the movement as well as the sparkle.

There are many people camped near me tonight, but no camaraderie. The wind has driven everyone into their tents. Almost 7:00 PM and I am thinking of getting ready for bed. While fixing dinner tonight, a sudden gust of wind came along and knocked over the stove, spilling my almost-boiling water everywhere (not on me, luckily. I was trying unsuccessfully to block the wind).

I sent my pants off with Betty, as they seem to have started irritating my upper calves, causing roughness and a red rash. So from now on, it’s a skirt on the trail. Both my thumbs are dried and cracking to the point of bleeding. Very tender. The heavy-duty lotion doesn’t seem to help. I doctored both this evening with antiseptic wipes and ointment, and bandaged both of them. The dual throbbing against the bandages is “interesting.” It’s hard not to have very usable thumbs. Now I’m really glad I don’t have to deal with the bear canister.

The wind seems to be dying down, and I’m hoping for a calm morning. Clark’s Nutcrackers are making up for the non-garulousness if the rest of the neighborhood.

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