Miles: 17.17
Camping: Crabtree Meadows Ranger Station 1.3 miles from PCT mile 767

Last night, I fell asleep to the sound of bullfrogs by the lake. It was windy, and the moon was bright, my first night sleeping back on trail. I remember the last full moon, hundreds of miles ago, how I had a hard time distinguishing between it and first light, making it hard to know when to actually wake up. This moon is no different, but it feels good to be in my tent again, my little traveling home. Cowboy camping is behind me for now, as cold mountain nights require an extra layer of insulation from the elements.

Today I embark for Crabtree Meadows, where I might catch up with my friends. I feel as if I’ve been air dropped into a fantasy land, everything so different from the harsh desert from whence we came. Everything here is so beautiful, and water is abundant. I find myself smiling at random, so happy to be back on trail, and in the Sierra no less! It reminds me of the years when I lived in Yosemite, and it’s a lovely memory. This whole mountain range is full of distant memories, and the present moment is consistently breathtaking. I feel as if this is what Heaven must be like, especially after 700 miles in the desert. It’s simply perfect.

The day went smoothly, my new shoes feeling good on my rested feet. It feels good to be in love with everything all over again, it feels good to feel happy. I practically skipped through the miles today, taking breaks whenever it seemed like a good place to rest. I laughed at the river because it seemed so foreign, and I stopped there to wash my feet and socks. I ate snacks on its banks, so thankful to be out of those waterless miles and into the constant flow of Sierra snow melt.

As the trail began to climb, I slowed quite a bit. The altitude takes some getting used to, and I’m definitely not as quick as I gain elevation. This is not a problem though, I’m in no rush to beat the heat or find water. I’m just hiking through this lovely mountain range without a care in the world. I found it almost felt sinful to pass so many water sources without stocking up, hoarding liters to drink and cook with. Instead I could mosey on by, knowing that I didn’t have to carry more than 2 liters, that more water was going to be there. No hurries, no worries. This really must be what Heaven is like, at least for me.

I made it to the ranger station in the middle of the afternoon. How nice to arrive at camp so early. I was still debating how I wanted to tackle Whitney,  the sunrise hike or day hike. If I wanted to do sunrise, it was best to cook early and get to bed, otherwise I could take the evening on in leisure. I ran into Cheeseburger, who had attempted sunrise, but missed it. He went on and on about how cold it was, which was not a selling point for me. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I have seen a lot of sunrises on this trail, just not from the highest point in the contiguous United States. As I was cooking up dinner (tuna casserole with leeks, peas and jalapenos), Danger (previously Little Spoon), rolled into camp! He is part of my pocket of people, and I nearly did a dance when I saw him, and he said he was hiking with Blisster and Tink! They were all coming down from Whitney, and discouraged me from doing the sunrise hike solo. They made sense, and hiking in extreme cold didn’t appeal to me in the least, though something inside me kept tugging at making a go for the sunrise.

We all sat around and caught up while making dinner, and a few more hikers rolled in. No one seemed game to sunrise with me, but I decided to set my alarm and decide in the morning. Now it’s only 6:30 and I’m going to read and see if I get sleepy…only midnight will know if I make it for sunrise. Either way, I will climb Mt Whitney tomorrow!