Miles: 18.14
Camping: PCT mile 873.64

I suppose nothing is meant to be truly perfect. After walking through more awesome scenery with more awesome lakes up to Selden Pass things changed dramatically. Everything was going well this morning as I made my way through the forest, I stopped on a rock for second breakfast and found some pure white Shooting Stars, a flower I’m quite familiar with but have only seen in purple. I feel as if the white one’s are pretty rare, so that made spotting them pretty cool.

The walking was quite easy all day, and I made it to the top of the pass at noon, which was 10 miles. I had thought about having lunch up there, but decided to go just over half a mile to some lakes instead so there would be water and a potential swim. That was when all hell broke loose. Mosquito hell, that is. I stopped to fill my water bottle and was immediately swarmed by the little suckers. I kept moving, hoping to find a spot with a breeze, but there wasn’t one, and the mosquitoes were relentless. Eventually, I found a spot with an occasional breeze, which meant an occasional break from their incessant buzzing. It had to do as it was well after lunch hour, and my tummy wasn’t going to let that fact go unnoticed. I swatted at mosquitoes while making tortilla soup, and ate quickly. Unfortunately, my rushed lunch kept me ahead of Pockets, but I figured we would catch up later. I had to get away from the blood sucking demons.

There was little chance to stop so I kept a steady pace, not even stopping to take pictures today. This rushed speed was wearing me down, but it was move quick or be eaten. I started to think a break at VVR wouldn’t be a bad idea. Not just to escape mosquitoes, but in general. It became my only thought: VVR tomorrow. I had to see if Pockets saw my logic; stopping there would take less time and be less stressful than Mammoth, and I really want to get to Yosemite (which will take a day and a half less time if we go to VVR instead of Mammoth). We are so close! For those who don’t know, I worked in Yosemite for 3 years starting in 1999, and I haven’t been back for a decade. I’ve been looking forward to it since I decided to do this hike. So, going to VVR would get us there a day and a half sooner, and we would get to eat pancakes tomorrow. Yes, all I had to do was see if Pockets was on board.

I stopped at Bear Creek for a river ford and decided to pee first. Just as I squatted down in the brush I was swarmed by at least 500 mosquitoes! I was basically giving them a meal of my bare bum, but had no choice but to finish the deed I had started. I rushed through it and ran back to my pack, storming through the river, shoes and all. They didn’t let up on the other side either following me straight to the next ford a mile later. I was so thirsty, but didn’t dare stop and let them catch me. I just moved as swiftly as I could, growing more tired and thirsty every minute. Finally, I found myself on an exposed ledge with a breeze. I paused briefly to see if they would attack…and just a few stragglers took advantage of my pause. I immediately sat on a rock and drank my entire water supply and had some snacks. I stayed there for half an hour, still awaiting the arrival of Pockets, but with no sign of her, I chose to push on.

It was only 4 miles from where I figured we would camp, so I made my way slowly, hoping she’d catch up. Arriving at camp, there was still no sign of her, so I got to chatting with a JMT hiker already camped here. Her name is Yvonne, and is from the Bay Area. We talked for an hour or so while I cooked up supper…and still no Pockets. Now I’m a tad worried as it is getting dark. She has an emergency phone that works on satellite, and with an absence of helicopters today, I know there was no real emergency. Her Achilles have been bothering her though, and it seems as if she isn’t going to make the 18 miles today. This concerns me: 1. That doesn’t bode well for us getting to Mammoth in a timely manner 2. I don’t want to take the morning ferry to VVR if she isn’t there, or she won’t be able to go (they only run ferries in the morning). I am concerned about my friend’s well being and am not sure how to execute tomorrow. Do I wait until she gets here before I hike? Do I go to VVR without her? Do I hike on and hope she catches up? I guess I will wait and see how I feel tomorrow and trust that it will all work out…

white shooting stars