Hey, look...a suspension
Amy crosses to Tom Sawyer's
Island. (Oops! Wrong story.)
The connoisseur savors
the experience, and
finding no magazines
available, is forced
to resort to the
Climbing to Pinchot
We awoke to find a world wet with condensation and looked out of the tent to see that a
layer of ice had formed on our backpacks. We lay, cocooned in our bags, waiting for the
sun to appear, which it didn't.
John Muir called the Sierras "the range of light." I think he must have slept in in the mornings.
Finally, we decided to just brave the elements and depart this hellishly cold area. We were forced to cross 2 streams on logs that were iced over and had to inch across them on our hands and knees. (We couldn't stomach the idea of getting our feet wet this early in the morning.) After about an hour of hiking we found some sun to bask in.
We then were greeted by a small bulletin board with another message from Ranger Rick. This time, the message included a "real life" example showing well meaning, but misguided people pitted against a wily bear. The story was that people had strung their food up in a tree at THIS VERY LAKE on a limb 30 feet in the air and 20 feet out and had counter balanced it and woke to find a bear sitting on the limb, pulling it up. He concluded the story with a moral: counter balancing does not work! Great story, fast paced, with good elements of drama and intrigue, but two aspects were confusing. First, call me lame (I'm sure you've done so already) but I don't think I or anyone I know would be capable of counter balancing food at a height of 30 feet. Secondly, we were at the timberline and all the trees were fairly stunted. Few were over 25 feet tall. Hmm...It sounded like Ranger Rick had gotten a bit overzealous in trying to make his important point, but we got the message and it made for an interesting read.
We hiked on, finding other messages from our Rae Lakes Ranger, whom we did not want to meet, as he sounded like a guy who issues fines.
We then came upon a sight that had Scott shucking off his backpack and running into the woods. I looked anxiously around preparing to run after him, since you all know the backpacking saying, "you don't have to outrun the bear-just the others in your group." Then, I saw what had caught his attention. It was a sign that said "toilet" with an arrow pointing the way. Our Scott is a pit toilet connoisseur. [What can I say. Some people collect stamps, others... -Scott] I, on the other hand, cannot stand the things. Scott returned shortly exclaiming that it was the BEST pit toilet he'd ever had the pleasure of using. Well, who could resist taking a peek after that glowing description?
And it was true-a clean open air toilet just sitting alone in the woods-and it had a great view. Could you ask for anything better in a wilderness experience?
We then began our very long ascent up Pinchot Pass and met 3 people doing the JMT. One exclaimed that she was craving certain foods and couldn't wait to get to Lone Pine. After we left them, Scott said he was surprised that she was sharing with people that she was having cravings when she still had 3 days until the end of her journey. This made no sense, (I think it stemmed from the fact that she was admitting to a weakness, but this is unconfirmed) and amused me as it came from a person who admits to cravings on the very day we are departing a town. I made extensive fun of him-(Lady-keep your sordid fantasies about orange juice and apple pie to yourself-no one needs to hear that kind of talk!)
We made it over the pass and were greeted by the site of numerous beautiful lakes and wildflowers and our senses were captivated. Truly, the area between Pinchot and Mather Passes is a beautiful remote area worth visiting again. We made camp and slept well. [Needless to say there was no pillow talk of our food lustings on this night -Scott]