If I rated days out of 10, I’d probably be averaging around an 8.5. There’s be a few 3’s in there, definitely a lot more 9’s and a handful to 10’s already – today being a stand out 10/10.
I woke up happy.
It’s the best way to wake up.
Pickleback waved me off with a goodbye from camp and I trotted off down the trail towards some ominous/exciting clouds.
I don’t exactly have a rain cover for my pack… I have lined it with a big black garbage back just in case, but we haven’t seen a drop of precipitation in sixty five days, and I’m all about the lightweight game now. No regrets! I stopped and tied my rain jacket around it all anyway just for extra protection, and kept dancing and singing down the trail towards the darkness.
And then it happened!
The skies opened above us and let down a deluge that washed away any trace of the dry, arid desert in our bones.
It was glorious.
I sang louder and skipped faster as I began the climb up Muir Pass, and dancing under that thunderstorm was one of the best mornings I’ve had out here.
I loved each cold drop of water on my skin. I loved the sensation of my wet clothes cooling me down. I loved passing section hikers huddled under tents, and grinning back at miserable faces walking the opposite way. I love the constant reminders the trail gives me that life is all about perspective.
Eventually the rain had had its fun, and gave way to let the sun peek out.
My once drenched clothes were dry within the hour. And the rain jacket as pack cover had done a perfect job: not a drop got inside.
Two thirds of the way up, I stretched out on a bed of soft green grass to have a quick snack, but I should have known better. The sun, my euphoria and the sound of a running creek lulled me quickly into a nap.
My ‘ten minute sit down’ turned into more than six times that length, and eventually the Prodigal caught up, then Nemo too.
I hadn’t realised how fast I had flown past them and gotten that far ahead. I LOVE this new pack!
Our Hiker Biker Gang had planned on lunch a bit further up, at one of the lakes.
Our Hiker Biker Gang has two rules:
- When we eat/drink, we share. We refer to it as ‘puff, puff, pass’: take two ‘puffs’ (mouthfuls, bites, sips), and pass to the next person.
- ALL lakes we walk past between the hours of 11AM – 3PM are to be swam in. Lakes passed outside of said hours are at our discretion, but encouraged.
Lunch was at a small lake just below Helen Lake. And the hours stated that we had to swim.
So swim we did: despite the cold that had crept back in to the afternoon, the clouds that were slowly but surely gathering once again above us, and despite the snow piled up on the jagged rock all around us.
Yes, it was cold.
But so worth it.
Muir Pass was a winner. My standards have been ruined – I don’t think it was the most beautiful of the passes we have come across, but it was up there for sure.
The clouds had listened to us, and dissipated by the time we got to the top.
I wanted to get a few extra miles in, and Prodigal and Nemo were with me. Pickle, Jimminy and Griz opted to stay up at the hut and join some other hikers to watch the sun set and have a sleep over at the summit.
I’m sure they got some great views, but ours were fantastic too.
It mightn’t have been the Number 1 pass I’ve come across so far, but it was the Number 1 sunset I have ever witnessed.
The sky caught fire as we descended into more granite and more lakes.
We’ll likely only walk for another hour or so until we find some flat ground.
I’m tired, but it’s the happy tired, like after a great birthday party. I’m worn out from laughing and singing and dancing and swimming. And the push ups would play into that too, I’d say. I’ve started to do a few of them here and there: don’t want these legs to get too far ahead of the rest of my body, and my arms should do a little work every now and again too to keep things even.
It’s all about balance.