JMT – Day 17 – Meadow at mile 169 to Upper Rae Lake

Back in higher elevation

Not much grows here

August 19, 2014

Everybody needs to rest from time to time and my body chooses to go on strike today. It starts in the very morning when my stomach refuses to finish breakfast. I should have packed larger variety of breakfast food. I am not completely sick of my two dishes but today I simply can’t stomach either of them and perhaps having an alternative, something that goes down easily such as cream of wheat would be a nice option. I don’t want to start the day with an empty stomach so I try to force some of the food in me but the best I can do is about quarter of my usual portion.

As expected with the lack of breakfast comes lack of energy. The terrain is an easy uphill through a forest of lodgepole pines that are later replaced by rare foxtail pines. Beautiful trees that immediately capture my attention. We go around Dollar Lake first and when we arrive at Arrowhead Lake we are back at  open terrain where the few remaining trees give way to views. There is a lot of beauty to savour and while my eyes can’t wait to walk around the next corner, my legs don’t share the enthusiasm. When we arrive at the orphaned Rae Lake Ranger Station, I seriously consider breaking in and laying on the comfortable hardwood bed for a day or two without making a move.

Foxtail Pine

Foxtail Pine

Luckily it’s a short day. We hope to camp at the Upper Rae Lake where Sarah, Michelle and John, solo hiker they adopted along the way, are suppose to meet us. We’re one of the first ones here and though have a great choice of sites in this otherwise popular area. The one we pick has amazing 360 degree views and plenty of space for five people. All I want to do is rest but chores have to be done first. Our tent collected some condensation last night and due to that our sleeping bags and pads got little damp. The large smooth granite slab next to our tent seem to be perfect for spreading our gear out and letting it dry. The one next to it will be used for drying laundry.

It would be a perfect day to jump into the lake, if it wasn’t for the persistent wind that scours the area. The sun found a cloud to hide behind on the nearly spotless sky and it’s warmth is diminished. It’s ironic that the heat would often beat on us when we are climbing mountain passes and the one day we have an afternoon off, it’s too cold for a swim. In the end I brave the water at least around the shore. I don’t go deeper than the hem on my shorts and the water feels refreshing but too soon cold forces me out.

First view of Fin Dome

First view of Fin Dome

Back in the land of lakes

Back in the land of lakes

When our friends don’t show up by dinner time, we are little concerned but things happen that can change plans and we try not to be overly worried. Worry lines appear on our foreheads later when we are ready to go to bed. That’s when we find out that Dave’s pad leaked almost all its air out and is now as flat as pancake. Not a good scenario on a cold sandy patch at 10,500 ft. We’ve been mentally prepared to hit the sleeping bags and it takes our bodies a while to return back to a working mode. Using soapy water we try to locate origin of the leak but not successfully. Submerging the pad would be more foolproof way but the lake is too rippled to be of any use so we blow the pad again hoping it would last for part of the night. It doesn’t and Dave is in for a cold night.

Camp chores

Camp chores

Big puffy cloud covering the sun

Big puffy cloud covering the sun

 

Miles today: 4.4

Cumulative miles hiked: 173.4   Miles left: 37.6

 

 

Tomorrow we will start the fight to find the leak in Dave’s pad.

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