Red Meadow Lake and Tasty Snow

Day 5 (July 16): I got an early start to the day to make some distance before the sun started beating down. On my way out I saw the welcome sign for Polebridge. It has seen better days.

Even more exciting, I saw PNT marker #2! It was only 57 miles since the last trail indicator. Can you imagine how lost people would get on the AT if they only painted a white blaze every 50 miles? Heck, I whined if it was more than 10 minutes. Some people have said there is eye candy on this trail. This is not it.

And the rest of my day I spent walking in the Hay Creek road. Wait, I’m serious. It was a whole day of just walking this dirt road. Views? No. My highlights include 2 cars, 1 motorcycle. After 9.4 miles of excitement the road became “trail”. Basically they just threw a big rock in the way and stopped taking care of it. My highlights on this section were a downed tree and a bridge.

I was a little excited to camp at Red Meadow Lake. I stayed there last year for the race. My same spot was even open! Several touring cyclists camped out there. Four of them were headed south and three Aussie ladies were headed north, so they were almost done. I was wondering if my friend, Drop Bear, knows them. She’s from there  too and I think they all kinda know each other. I forgot to ask, but chatted with all seven of them about different bits of the ride.

Day 6: The morning came around and I walked out. A guy in a car passed me. He was the only person I saw that day. The climbs were brutal. Are switchbacks illegal here? It’s a scenic spot at least.

Being mostly on the ridge meant 14 miles without water. 2.5 liters is enough, right? Well no. The guidebook said it might be 14, depending on the season. Since it’s snowmelt season, I figured there would be a stream or two. At least there was still snow up there. I was worried I wouldn’t find any and nearly didn’t. When I did, I packed my bladder full along with the liter I had in the Gatorade bottle. I felt the ice through my pack and got cold drinks all day. Plus I finally got to use that silly shovel. I guess that’s what it’s for.

Some sort of game hen got super pissed at me because her chicks were on the trail. I got too close and she let me know.

The toughest climb of the day was up to Mt Locke. The guidebook claims 1000’/mile, but I’m sure it was steeper than that. Thankfully it was over in about 700′. The descent didn’t end however, it went on forever. I finally decided to camp after I crossed the river. It must have been Styx judging how long the down took. I wasn’t even at the bottom yet. I thought about hiking on, but the river crossing was a ford. Few things can take away the desire to hike like wet shoes. This put me at 89 miles in 6 days. Not shabby.

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