Tue 23 Aug 2011
Woke up to a heavy frost on everything, especially the tent. Water bottles were partly frozen. Ended up packing the tent in its stuff sack with a nice snow ball in the center. That would later come back to haunt me.
Long day of ups and downs. Nice part about it was there was an amazing view of yet another mountain range with every up. Started bonking about mile 10 with brain fog setting in. Still affected by elevation. Geez. How long does it take to fully acclimate out here? Caught up with Bill and Keith and stopped and ate lunch. Then the storms started rolling in. Amazing how adrenaline can cure brain fog. Just after the CDT split off from the CT, the trail went up and over the final ridge of this 30 mile stretch above treeline. It was thundering and lightening not far to the east. Keith asked, “well, we gonna do it?” Meaning, are we going to head over that ridge with lightening so close? I responded, “we either do it or set up camp here.” We were off. I was just behind him but far enough that he remained at a slightly higher elevation than me. He could be the lightening rod. Bill followed just behind me.
We made it up and over without getting struck by lightening and down into a seriously narrow gorge. Bill and Keith opted to call it quits at a flat area by an old mining cabin. I was feeling good again (probably from the remaining lightening induced adrenaline in my system!) and wanted to get more miles in so I could get in to Silverton by noon the next day.
I climbed down the gorge over boulder fields and steep rocky descents. Got down below treeline and found a descent campsite where I emptied out my pack and found everything at the bottom half soaked. That snowball from the morning frost had melted and everything in the bottom of the pack was in a puddle. Laid it all out and everything was dry by morning.