Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 62 - Silver Creek

Today was one of the least eventful days to date. We didn't talk to anyone, only seeing people from a distance. No megafauna animal sightings, though as I was climbing Hat Pass, I heard the tattoo of hoofbeats scattering away from me. I know I'm a terrifying presence out here in my pink hoodie and purple sneakers. Moderately sized Asian women always cut an imposing figure.

The scenery continues to be rugged and beautiful, with alpine trees and rocks. Most bowls have beautiful blue lakes, but many creeks are dry. I heard from some locals it has been a dry year, and it is quite visible in the low shorelines of the lakes.

We did have a nice lunch at Pipestone Lake, and I had a chance to take a sorely needed bath.

We continue to feel the effects of the altitude. Headaches, sluggishness, and tired legs. The first five miles feel like the last five miles usually do, and I'm gutting through some of the larger climbs. We've reduced our target mileage to ~20mi instead of ~25mi because of the altitude.

To adapt, I'm using the techniques I learned from the Earth Treks guides for mountaineering--deep and complete exhalation to void all the CO2, and necessitate long breaths. I think it is helping. We've camped at 10,200' tonight, which should also help with the acclimatization. Feeling the effects here does make me nervous for the upcoming transition from the relatively low Great Basin to the passes in Colorado. But, we'll come to that when the time comes.

The skies have darkened quickly, and I'm almost certain we'll have rain tonight. Time to dive into the tent, and then get some sleep. Tomorrow is the big day: Cirque of the Towers!

p.s., I think we crossed the 1,000mi mark!
p.p.s., The bells on the horses did inspire Gangles to dream of the windchimes at grandma's house, from when she slept there as a little girl. My dreams were more fleeting, like a fist opening into a hand.

Mileage: ~21mi from Chain Lakes to Silver Creek

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