8/5/18 – Breathtaking Rae Lakes

Day 46

Miles: 808.90 to 792.91

Milky Way is beautiful tonight. Even Dave gets up to see it stretching above Marjorie Lake.

The rest of the night is bitterly cold. I am chilly even in my sleeping bag and sleep does not come easy. When alarm rings at 5:00, it’s so hard to get out of the sleeping bag and into the biting morning breeze.

We keep our down jackets for most of the climb to Pinchot Pass. Dave has his gloves on too.

Pinchot Pass is beautiful. On the north side fresh green meadow contrasts with the reds of the surrounding peaks. There are tiny tarns and short pines in the basin as well. It’s a wonderful view and we enjoy it way too long. It’s 8:25 when we are leaving. We only hiked 1.74 miles in 2 hours. We better pick up some speed.

Picking up speed is not easy today. I’m tired. And the trail is rough. We’re heading towards Wood’s Creek suspension bridge and it’s the worst downhill of the entire Sierra I’m sure. Rock, roots, washouts, and giant steps we have to down climb make it difficult to maintain speed, plus there are more short uphills than I can count. Finally the suspension bridge gets in view and we know the suffering is over. At least for next hour and half when we eat lunch and I take a nap. Afterwards we have to climb 2,000 feet to Rae Lakes.

This climb is a combination of shorter steep uphills and flatter sections. It still has giant steps once in a while and those parts kick my butt, otherwise it’s rather smooth going. It’s hot. I dunk my shirt twice to keep myself from overheating.

We are able to secure the same site we had 4 years ago. It was rather quiet then, one more party and us, everyone else stayed at the other side of the lake. It’s different today. Most people camp here by the intersection with Sixty Lakes Basin.

In bed by 8:00. Climbing Glen Pass tomorrow morning. Our last pass on the trail. I hardly can believe that our Sierra section is nearly over and I’m curious to see what news we find when we get to civilization tomorrow. Is Hwy 120 to Tuolumne opened or closed? Can we finish the section between Red’s Meadow and Sonora Pass or will be have to return for it later?