7/20/18 – Bathtub Floor

Day 30

Miles: 1,033.74 to 1,022.01

In the morning we were greeted by mosquitoes but it is a lovely one otherwise. Close to our site a stream bubbles by. Hummingbird flies by several times to check us out. The flowers are beautiful. It’s a place hard to leave.

The trail is meandering today before it’s first drop. It’s a dry section with shorter trees and boulders scattered around, and there are views. Smoky views, but still views.

Our second drop takes us to Carson river. We have the pleasure to walk through a valley for a while all alongside the river. The wall around us are tall and dramatic. Somehow we’ll have to climb over.

10 miles in we stop for a lunch. This was supposed to be our destination. The place is pretty but it’s not even noon. We might as well push and have the uphill done and over with. Two thousand feet. Normally it’s not a big climb. But after 20+ days on trail two thousand feet in one climb is a grind. Most of our daily elevation is usually gained on series of shorter uphills and most hikers prefer it that way.

We start hiking. It’s not bad. The grade is gentler than it was lower down and the occasional views keeps us interested in what’s ahead.

It thunders. The thundering is loud and seems to be coming from behind the next ridge. It thunders again. We see lightening as well. Dark clouds are rolling from the pass. They cover the sun, hiking is easier when it’s cooler but the breeze we feel has a crisp bite to it. It’s different than yesterday when it thundered few times in the distance but the storm never materialized. Today it feels more imminent.

“I don’t think we’ll be camping up at the ridge,” I say. I was quite happy with the idea of camping atop the climb where there was a possibility of views, and tomorrow it would be a smooth cruising down to the road but there is nowhere I’d rather not be in a storm than atop an open ridge, the highest point of the day. Dave agrees that going up and over, getting to Kennedy Meadows tonight might be better idea but we both hope the storm will clear. After all the forecast called only for 30% showers.

Couple raindrop falls. The clouds grow darker. Both of us start looking for a potential campsite. A small flat spot would do. More raindrops. We cross a creek and then we see it. A beautiful large site. There were no official camsites reported on our trail apps. Should we set up or should we risk it and push through?

“Let’s give it 15 minutes,” Dave says. “If the weather starts clearing, we can continue. If not, we stay.”

There are more raindrops. And more thunder that now seems to be getting closer.

“Let’s set up,” I say. This unexpected campsite is like a sign, like an invitation.

5 minutes later the storm is above us. It dumps a heavy shower. Then hail. We are watching it all from safety of our tent, dry and warm. Tell me about a perfect timing.

Three hours later it still rains. Twice it seemed like the weather might give us a break but then it thundered again and more intense precipitation came. This is by far the longest lasting and strongest rain we have had on trail. Even the storm at Crater Lake last year was over after an hour or so. We could not be happier about our decision to pitch but our happiness only lasts till we realize the tent is full of water.

“Now I know what the term bathtub floor means,” I laugh but the situation is serious. We have to get the tent dry. If any of our sleeping gear gets wet we’re in for a pretty miserable night.

It takes us nearly an hour to remedy the situation. We wipe the tent and our ground sheet that did not get tucked in enough and collected tons of the rainwater. Afterwards it’s time to cook dinner and enjoy a spectacular sunset. The rain has stopped for the time being and the air is free of smoke. Beautiful evening unravels in front of us.