Leaving the city for the wilderness feels like a return to something familiar…this is what we have been missing.
~from the video series“Walking the West”
Just below Kearsarge Pass to Wood’s Creek
We got a super early start to take advantage of the firm snow to walk on. In the afternoon the snow gets slushy and slippery and post-holing (sinking deep into the snow) often ensues. Consequently, it is pretty important to get an early start even if it is frozen cold. It is quite thrilling to see frozen lake after frozen lake while walking on the snow covered trail, but at the same time, the temperature is very warm. The sun is very INTENSE and covering up with a hat and long sleeves really helps.
Traveling on snow is A LOT of work! It was recommended that we plan for hiking between 10 to 15 miles a day max. After today’s mileage of 14.9, I really understand. Our bodies feel more like we have hiked 25 to 30 miles. We will be climbing about one high pass a day that requires microspikes (lightweight crampons) and an ice ax. Today we climbed Glen Pass elevation 12,000. We used all of our snow equipment and even glissaded (sliding down steep snow covered hills on your bottom). So fun.
One of the biggest and most challenging tasks when traveling during the time of high snowmelt is crossing swift stream crossings. One slip in some of the streams would lead to certain death. We had 2 successful stream crossings today. One thing that worked well we discovered quite by accident, the microspikes we use on the snow also work great for crossing streams on logs. Microspikes add grip and control when the logs are icy or slippery.
The travel down from Glenn Pass to Wood’s Creek was long and very tiring. The snow was soft and uneven. Wood’s Creek elevation is low and out of the snow. I am currently listening to the roaring creek just a few yards from our tent and I am looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.