I had a rough night’s sleep. It was too hot for my bag, and I couldn’t get comfy. I went to bed at 8:30 PM, and woke at 9:30 to beautiful half-moon light on the bright granite, and again at 1:30 to a black sky full of incredible stars, and then tossed and turned until 6:30. Now it’s almost 9:00 AM, and we are ready to leave camp. I am still worried about that group of 10. Where would they even have done their business here, in this narrow granite defile, without defiling the entire place?
We arrived at the trail junction with Black Rock Pass, and made camp. The weather is ideal, the river water is cold but something far short of icy, and there is ample shade. The hike today was steep, and passing through Redwood Meadow was extremely emotional—like visiting a former concentration camp. That strip of trees that John muir wrote about is nearly completely gone. In most places, there are just a few skinny survivors. They look so alone, and I am sure they are missing their family members, who stood beside them for 1000+ years. In their sense of time, the holocaust was yesterday, a mere 100 years ago. Humans. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for the trees, or what it feels like now, to live with such a gaping would still fresh in their memories.
Tomorrow will be a big day, over Timber Gap and into Mineral King, where we will unwrap the van, change our clothes, and drive home.Already, the outside world and all I have to do is starting to weigh on me.
This camp area at the trail junction to Black Rock Pass, is very popular (though there are only 5 of us camped here tonight). The bear box is completely filled with someone’s gear and extra food, which is starting to rot and stink. Apparently, some guy came through with an 80-pound pack (that’s what we were told, anyway), and decided to unload stuff before trying to go over the pass. He isn’t coming back for it, as he’s doing the loop hike back out over Sawtooth Pass. What an idiot. They really should make people take a class before they are allowed to come out here and desecrate their surroundings. Am I being elitist? I don’t think so. I pity the poor ranger who has to come clean it all up and haul it out.
At 7:30, the bugs drove me into my tent. Always more buggy under the trees. Hopefully, I’ll have a good night’s sleep tonight. We visited for a long time this afternoon with a 21-year-old engineering and social justice student at Cal Poly, hiking by herself and a little lonesome for company, I think. Claire is smart, funny, and ready to engineer a new reality! It makes me hopeful for the future to meet people like her.
9.2 miles today, 62 floors climbed. I’m tired and a little wrung out from the emotional hits of the day. There always comes a time, on these trips, when I feel stripped of my every-day defenses. I welcome it and dread it, both. Today was that day.