Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Got a decent night's sleep, though for about 2 hours I tossed and turned. During those two hours it began to sprinkle, which meant throwing on shoes, jumping out to wrestle the campsite under plastic and getting a mosquito bite on the head. Anyway, despite that I feel well rested and ready to check out the new month. I'm still thinking about Liz Phair, which I'm beginning to sense is a symptom of some sort of mental shock. "Thinking" about Liz Phair isn't quite right, as that implies conscious exertion. Liz is merely buzzing in the background. I can't turn it off.

7:10. Time to get up.

11:11- It was a tough climb to the saddle by Mt. Guyot. We started at 8:40, half hour later than yesterday. Pea soup doesn't give much energy. By 2:00 we made it to Crabtree Meadow. It was a lot farther than I thought.but we're in camp 2.5 hours earlier than yesterday. Grassy, river nearby, trail junction right across. Wallace Creek is 4.1 miles- that's about of tomorrow's hike. It was a big day today. There was steep drop down to the meadows and I can't tell exactly where we are. There are huge rocky lumps and peaks surrounding us. Mt. Whitney is hidden, I think. It is over 8 miles away. There are now clouds overhead. Perhaps we'll get some rain?

shade

Cooling off trailside

A wide sandy expanse

Mount Guyot from the north

The little red speck is Chris

Descending to Crabtree

It proved to be a rough day. We're at Crabtree Meadows, easily the finest of the campsites we've had so far. Mom and I are in the tent, though we needn't be. The mosquitos aren't bad and the rain that poured from the sky earlier did so for only a few moments. Today we arrived at the shoulder of Mount Guyot via a set of horribly steep switchbacks. Then across a long, dry flat section behind the mountain as we approached the final descent to Crabtree.

Part of what made the whole process difficult was the energy level. For both of us, especially Mom, the needle read well below "E." Call me crazy, but I bet the dinner of pea soup and Canadian bacon just isn't enough to sustain a 1500' ascent the next day.

 

Campsite

Crabtree Campsite

north

Looking towards Whitney

Whatever the case, we made it to Crabtree Meadow safely. We found a campsite, not the best one--that was snagged by the six men we've been pacing since day one--but a nice one. And we got in early enough to relax a little, get cleaned up and have a very hearty dinner. Tonight's fare: garlic mashed potatoes (with real garlic) and dehydrated mushrooms, and then a corn pasta concoction with dehydrated ground beef, red bell peppers, dried milk and two of those little wax-covered cheeses, wax removed. Sounds odd, but it was delicious. And if that doesn't charge us with some energy, we're in trouble.
We had a great dinner- garlic mashed potatoes with mushrooms and corn pasta with ground beef, red peppers, cheese and milk. I must have left the sauce packets at home. I hope the better food makes a difference tomorrow. A few drops of rain fell earlier and the mozzies are out now. There's a fire ring but we're over 10,000' so we may just burn trash. O Fortuna and Close to the Edge were floating in my head today.

Mom's gone for a walk. I'm reclining against the stump of a burly pine under whose branches we've chosen to pitch the tent. The night is cooling down. The scout troop camped nearby has settled into silence. Within earshot, one scoutmaster works with a young guy and his fishing pole. I talked to both scoutmasters earlier. One said to the other, "There are several fish in each of these little ponds. I think even John might be able to catch something." Maybe this young guy is John.

I still have something of a headache. I've been battling one all day. It's probably part altitude, part dehydration and maybe even part caffeine withdrawal. In light of that possibility I brewed some Lung Ching Dragonwell before dinner. It doesn't seem to have helped.

I think I'm calling it quits for the evening. The mosquito death toll is mounting and one even got through my thick sock. It's enough to drive one crazy.