6am to 7pm. Between Laurel Lake and Bighorn Pass to Deer Lake. 15.4 miles
It was cold this morning. Since we started out with a steep uphill we warmed up quickly. The snow made things interesting again. Microspikes are our saviors out here. The snow was frozen with a slight crunch on the surface. The microspikes bit into it perfectly. It’s like having 4 wheel drive.
Bighorn Pass was first.
Shout of Relief Pass was next. It is supposed to be easy hiking between the 2. But snow complicated things and made us take a very circuitous route. Several times we were walking on very steep snow where falling was not an option. But it felt very safe.
The north side of Shout of Relief Pass had lots of snow of course but it was pretty easy walking across it.
Cotton Lake was one of the prettiest lakes I’ve seen out here.
We had a huge downhill after that. We crossed huge granite slabs, nice grassyramps, huge boulders, areas with lots of trees…. pretty much everything but always steep downhill.
We finally got to Horse Heaven. Weird name but it’s a meadow where several big creeks join. Plus there is a trail which we took to the JMT/PCT for 6 miles. We agreed to meet at the next trail junction so we could each just walk. No waiting. No hurrying.
We branched off to Duck Lake Trail for a couple miles. At Duck Pass we got cell service so of course we had to stop for a break.
Then it was a couple cross country miles to Deer Lakes where we are camped. It was a good long day.
We get to Mammoth Lakes tomorrow. We are all so ready for town and a zero.