Day 77: What It Means To Be Defeated

77. June 26: Mile 1091.50 Echo Lake to Mile 1101.31 Campsite 
Full disclosure, the title of this post was totally stolen off of the title track of a Dayseeker record. Not that anyone who reads this listens to them let alone knows who they are, but I have definitely been trying for a couple months to figure out how to use it as a blog title. So yeah, now I did. Yay. 
Anywho, rest be assured everyone, I am BACK! That means no more miserably boring posts, no more complete lack of photos, and no more extensive paragraphs about Glowworm and I’s ongoing power struggle for board and arcade game dominance. Okay that last one may not be true. Actually they are all probably not true, but if you pretend enough in Mr. Rogers Land of Make Believe then I guarantee it will be better than the black hole that is Lake Tahoe. 
It was so great to be back on the trail again. The last few weeks have been a mixture of misery and relaxation. Getting torn from my trail family after coming down with a life threatening condition was one of the hardest things that I have ever dealt with. I felt completely defeated. Like the trail won; like every one who said that this hike was a bad idea won. I have quite a lot of things in my life. I’ve given up in bike races when they got too hard, I’ve decided against pursuing various career options because they were too hard, but I’m not quitting this. I’m not letting this defeat me. 

Grant dropped us off at Echo Lake which was absolutely stunning. Little did I know the views would perpetually increase as the day wore on. There wasn’t any snow the first few miles, but there were a lot of day hikers so we had to stop fairly frequently to let people by. 

We soon hit snow which persisted for the rest of the day. This was expected. Much of Northern California is still covered in snow. The snow doesn’t really make hiking the trail impassable as much as river crossings and frigid temperatures do; it just makes it difficult and slow going. 

The views were absolutely amazing though. There were frozen lakes at the base of snow capped mountains. It was some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen. The going was rather tough, however. Since we started at 10:00 and didn’t get into the snow until afternoon it was all pretty slushy which makes hiking in those conditions challenging even with spikes on. 

Near the end of the day we hit a sort of geologic milestone when we saw the first signs of the rock changing from metamorphic (granite) to igneous (volcanic). This is the first real sign that we’ve truly entered Northern California. 

We got to camp a bit before 6:00 and I could tell it had been a while since I had set up camp. Pitching the tent was a pain due to the rocky soil and nearby snow limiting space. Adding to that was me fumbling around getting my sleeping bag and pad set up plus changing into my sleeping clothes and finally trying to cook my dinner in a timely manor. It was a pathetic scene. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things soon. 
And since I realize that everyone is probably more concerned with my health than how badass the trail is, yes, I’m feeling fine and I’m not dead. Tomorrow we go over Dick’s pass which is at about 9500 feet, but we’ll decend below 8000 feet by the time we get to camp. I’m also on acetezolemide (that is spelled miserably wrong, but the common name is diamox). So I’ll be taking that for a couple more days and then it’s basically around 6000 feet until somewhere in Oregon so altitude shouldn’t be an issue for at least a month. 

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