Day 50 Mather Pass

Wednesday June 4th 2014 (Mile 815)

I slept rather well and I’m soon up and packed, okay Mather pass to do today. I think to myself, it can’t be that bad too go down. I  set off down the valley that leads to the pass the trail is covered in snow but I stay to the east of it,  I cross my  first stream but being early it is   not yet raging  with snow melt,  I pick my way along the trail crossing a field of muck and rock. Mather looming ever nearer, I begin to climb, but being morning the snows crust is much firmer so I’m not yet post holing .At the next water source I camel up and fill my bladder probably too much water but I’d rather have it and not have to stop again

Soon I am at the base of the pass, where the trail makes a sharp left and curves up the mountain. From gut hooks I know that the trail becomes a set of sharp switchbacks that work their way up the vertical face of the rock,  I trudge on and soon  reach a wall of white, and footprints  that  cheer  me  up,  people!  not sure how far in front  but it is  foot prints They seem to  go  straight up rather than the switchbacks, that’s exactly how I climbed forester pass so here we go. I tightened the straps of my pack took a huge slurp of water and set off on the climb adrenaline is pumping through my body come on Snail.

It is mainly scrambling and crawling as make my way up the side of the mountain, my pack feels heavy but I’m doing okay. I follow one set of footprints but as I go higher footprints tend to fan out across the face of the climb. The sweat begins to pour out of my forehead  and soon my  bandana  is  soaked ,I’ll stop when it is  safe or  my jacket  will be soaked too

.At last I’m on a firm switchback I remove my pack and sodden jacket wipe the sweat from my face, put on a dry bandana slurp lemonade then I’m off .I’m making good  time and the top  is getting nearer well I’m hoping that’s it is the top as some of  these  climbs  are  deceptive .

At last I am at the top the views are stunning I stop and stare  before venturing down the other side .The trail is fairly easy  to follow  through the immense snowfields dotted with huge boulders and  the obligatory  melt water stream  I  need to push on as , as the sun will soon make  the snow  soft and  hard work  to cross  and  the  rivers torrents .

I follow the footprints slowly,  slow  is safe , the snow  is  firm  but slippy so I am moving as quickly as I dare .I’m not post holing yet but I’m not confident at crossing this stuff with my crappy shoes. I heading down towards a load of boulders, thinking to myself that’s must be scary when they fall!!!

I slowly pick my way over, but once across I am greeted with  a scree, great I’m not sure what is worse snow or scree , buts it’s not long till I’m wading back through snow still following footprints

Finally I leave the snow behind and begin to pick up speed as I move on unobstructed, although the trail is so mucky. Ping goes my watch yes lunch time I walk on looking for a dry spot to sit then arrive at a gorgeous lake. I find a spot and drop my pack removing my shoes to air my feet and switch to dryish socks before having lunch tortillas, salami and cheese and a glug of lemonade

I  hike on through a sunlit forest  that then turns into a  grassy, flower-filled meadow as I walk  I’m joined  by a  flat, winding stream The sun is now warm and  beautiful smells fill the air and in the distance I notice deer grazing  this is just perfect

I stop, on the trail, and just look at the flowers and listen to the  birds singing  and  bees buzzing  it is   if  I  am in a different  land .

I spoke too soon as again I am back in snow fields which seem to stretch for miles.

I wanted to get to Muir pass  but the suns beginning to melt  the snow   making  my  progress  slow and  painful  as it is  peak post-holing  I plod bravely into the snow ,soon realising that I was right and  this  is  just mad. Come on Snail lets finds a camp. I hike on till I come to a stream my feet are still fairly dry and want to keep them this way so walk up stream to find a better crossing. Hurrah still dry. But  I am  now  beginning to come across  numerous  but as  I approach the  afternoon they are becoming  torrents fuelled from melt water.

I spot a group of trees and make my way over, the ground is clear and snow free, perfect. Yes it is early and I could go on but it is better to do these snow crossings in the morning when the snow is hard as  post-holing just saps my energy I’m done I say to myself

My tent is soon up and water boiling for my tea. you’re doing okay Snail   I  say to myself  I then eat  rice  with  tuna I feel  good and  I’m soon snuggled up in my bag night all.

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