Mosquito madness

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport – 112 miles 8 days Total: 1018 miles 76 days + 12 zero days

Terrible screams echo through the woods. They are the desperate screams of people under attack, they are the horrible screams of people in agony, being eaten alive… …by mosquitoes! Hoards of these vicious insects turned the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass in a living hell for hikers. They sucked our blood and our energy, they drove us mad and made us feel miserable. We fought bravely, many a bloodsucker died at the palm of our hand, but we were overwhelmed. We managed to escape with our sanity intact but we bore the scars, testimonies of that bloody battle, for several days.

After two days in town, Isabelle and I long to be back on the trail so we left the other hikers in Mammoth Lakes and hiked on our own again for a few days. Isabelle got mad at marmots after one of them chewed the handle and the strap of her hiking pole while we were having a nap on the shore of Thousand Islands Lake. We entered Yosemite National Park via Donohue Pass and along the beautiful Lyell Canyon. The group caught up with us in Tuolumne Meadows and we left as fast as we could, too many people around there for us to handle. We found the perfect spot on the smooth rock faces typical of Yosemite to watch the sunset, see the moonrise, sleep under the stars and get awaken by the first rays of the sun. Life doesn’t get any better! And on the 26th of July we camped at a 1000 miles!

The trail was still quite demanding until Sonora Pass, lots of high ups and low downs, a real rollercoaster. But as we lost altitude, the amount of snow dropped, making the going easier. Southbound hikers often nicely warned us about there being a lot of snow ahead but once we got there we couldn’t help but laughing because Einstein was right, everything is relative, it was nothing compared to what we’d had the past weeks. We have become blase. At creek crossings we usually didn’t bother anymore to look for rocks or logs but just trudge on through the water. Anyway either our shoes were already wet or they would be in a couple of miles.

As we walked on the ridge to Sonora Pass, we could see the mountains ahead had very little snow compared to the ones behind us and it dawned on us that this was the last of the High Sierras. We’d been walking fast all that morning to run away from mosquitoes but suddenly I was in no rush anymore, I wanted to prolonge our last moments in the High Sierras. As a goodbye we had our last opportunities at glissading.

Despite the ups and downs, we still managed to do a couple of 20 miles day. About 1000 miles of trail and the Sierras have made us fit. And it’s good we can push the miles and pick up speed as we’re not halfway yet, we’re short of about 300 miles, and we have about 2.5 months left to make it to Canada.

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