Tuesday, September 17, 2013

day 23: 14th day on the JMT, Palisade Lakes to Lake Marjorie

This morning we were greeted by frost.  Our packs were covered in frost, our boots, all the clothes I had washed the night before and laid out to dry--covered in frost.  And the sun wasn't even up and over the mountains yet.  So we went back in the tent and waited for the sun to come out and defrost our things.  After the sun came out we ate oatmeal and peanut butter for breakfast.  We packed up our stuff and hit the trail.  Dan (Vegas) left a little before us.

One of the Palisade Lakes before we began hiking

The terrain up to Mather Pass was rolling at first.  Then began the ascent.  Then began the steep ascent.  And some snow.  There was one part where the trail was completely covered by snow and we just had to go across and up.  I was so scared the entire time.  Thank goodness for my hiking poles.  Then up, up, up to Mather Pass (12,100 ft elevation, we had to climb 1500 ft over 2 miles and I believe it was mostly at the last part).  But we made it to the top!!

 Headed to Mather Pass

Me making it up the last stretch to the top of Mather Pass

Vegas was there with two PCT hikers who were jamming to Purple Haze when we arrived (they'd brought an iPod with little speakers).  I was so happy because we were done with the ascent and great music was there to greet me.  It hit me that I hadn't really listened to music in two weeks except for a couple of songs while we were at Vermillion Valley Resort.  A few more Hendrix songs played and I soaked them in.  One of the guys lent me his sparkly pink nail polish to paint my nails and to "give me confidence on the trail".  Amen to that since I love me some pink and sparkles.  They were definitely two far out guys, we're pretty sure they were high.  They offered me liquid weed which I politely declined.  But they were nice and I was happy to relax for a few minutes and listen to some Hendrix.

The view from the top of Mather

We made it to the top :)

Then came the descent down Mather and oh my, were those some steep switchbacks!  And the wind was really blowing.  I was a little nervous so I took my time.  At the end of the descent we got to a large plateau that was incredibly windy.  My feet were killing me from the descent but we were trying to book it out of that plateau.  When it became a little more wooded we stopped for lunch.  Before that, we crossed paths with an older man and his wife and they gave me a Pixie Stick "for the trail".  So nice.  Hikers, in general, are low maintenance and really nice people.  Whenever you pass someone they always say hey, usually ask how you're doing and offer some helpful information for obstacles to come.

The plateau

A little more wooded

Anyway, we ate lunch and rested for a second.  I noticed that my feet were looking really nasty (bloody, open wounds on the bottoms of all of my little toes and the sides of my heels).  Oh well, must continue on. More downhill and rolling terrain.  Then for the last bit of the day we went uphill to get out of the valley and near Pinchot Pass.  Up, up, up.  My legs were feeling it since we did Mather in the morning but it wasn't terrible.

We find camp right next to Lake Marjorie.  John was hoping to fish since we arrived early (5:00 p.m.) but the wind was insane!  It took all three of us to put up each tent!  They are truly gale force winds (well that's what it feels like).  So no fishing.  I washed a couple of shirts (because they smelled horrible), we filtered some water and made dinner (peanut butter and mashed potatoes).  Now we are in the tent and the wind is whipping all around us.  I cleaned my feet with hand sanitizer (that hurt!) and put Neosporin all over my toes.  Let's hope they get better overnight because I still have five days of hiking that I need to get through.  Tomorrow is Pinchot Pass, here we go...

 Lake Marjorie

Me soaking up the sun at Lake Marjorie

The waves on the lake

What hurts: my feet, obviously.  John is good.

Total JMT miles: 158

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