The Longest Day. Please take time to read description and comment
Once again the app doesn’t play the last 2:30 of the video, check it out on the website flic.kr/p/2hwcQmX I tried to match the music to how I was feeling when I was there, for as beautiful as the forest was it was really hard to enjoy it because of the mosquitoes. The first song is by Ensemble Pearl: Ghost Parade. The second is by James Blackshaw: Transient Life in Twilight The recording in the middle was recorded at that location, same with the walking sounds. filmed with a chest mounted gopro. part 7 Morning came, and I slept in, but I still rose before suntouch. No mosquitoes were awake to bother me yet so I made breakfast in the short time I had before the swarm arose. While it rehydrated I packed up. Before I finished the sun crested the ridge and with it came the little blood suckers. I saved my tent for last so I could eat my breakfast in it. Once I finished I quickly packed it up and began my hike for the day. ... If Royce-Merriam pass was impassable and the other pass I had originally planed on doing looked like more trouble than it was worth, my last option to avoid the mosquito hell of French and Piute Canyon is Feather Pass, which I have done before while on the Sierra High Route. However it is several miles away and is at a higher elevation than Royce-Merriam. I would hate to get there and find it also to be impassable due to snow, so I guess I'll head back the way I came in, but I do not know where I will stop for the night, it all depends on mosquitoes. I have several options; there are many lakes that rest along the Glacial Divide that I'd love to see (Honeymoon, Packsaddle, Payne, Wahoo), I really want to get up to Goethe Lake and over Alpine Col into Darwin Bench and Canyon. I guess I'll figure it out as I go, after all I have a whole week out here. ... I climbed up and over the hill that separates Merriam from the meadow lands, then I crossed them and the many wandering streams that bound them. Then I found the trail and took it downhill into the forested French Canyon. As long as I kept moving the mosquitoes weren't a problem, but that in and of itself was a problem because it made taking breaks very unpleasant so I made them as short as possible and only long enough to take a quick sip of water. The forest floor of the canyon was carpeted in beautiful flowers, the majority of which were white and lacy, though in places were clusters of purple and lone red or yellow ones grew here and there and a patchwork of light and shadow played upon the earth beneath my feet. Soon I reached the trail junction where Piute Canyon joined French. The mosquitoes where the thickest and worst here. The creek that the trail had been following, though not closely, split into many rivulets that had to be crossed. Once on the other side, the Piute Canyon trail began to climb uphill while around it the forest thickened and the light no longer played upon the earth for the branches above were woven to thickly. I still was making good time and the miles passed beneath my feet. To my right (west) flowed Piute Creek, though with as much water as was flowing through it right now it could easily be mistaken for a river. Soon I came to a sign that pointed across it that read “Honeymoon Lake”. There was the sign, but no trail could I see through the thick forest. Bush whacking through this place to find the lake did not appeal to me especially with the swarm that gave me no relief so I continued on uphill along the well worn path. I started getting frustrated, cursing the swarm, flailing my arms wildly in the air to vainly shew them away while yelling out loudly at them to leave me alone, but the buzzing and biting continued on as though it was the air itself. At a creek crossing a pair of shoes sat atop a rock with nobody around and no pack anywhere, just the shoes. I filled up my water bottles as quickly as I could though not quickly enough to avoid getting several bites. Then I continued on. A few switchbacks, another creek crossing, then the forest opened and the trees receded. A breeze breathed upon me and the sun shown down. I paused, the swarm had diminished but was still there biting. I pushed on. The mountainside, bathed in sunlight and windswept, was dotted with single, sparse trees here and there, and after a while I paused again... nothing, not a single mosquito buzzed around me nor landed looking for a place to bit. I immediately took my pack off as well as my mosquito net, my gloves, my shirt, and my zip-off pant legs, and the wind cooled my skin. I walked over to a large flat rock shaded by a lone pine, took my shoes and socks off, layed down, and rested for the first time since I began walking hours ago. I walked 7 miles before my first break, a personal record. After a well deserved break and snack I continued, soon reaching the meadowlands of Humphrey's Basin. I refilled my water at a gushing creek amongst wildflowers and chatted with a couple who were there when I arrived, then I moved on. The wide open basin beneath the watchful gaze of Mt. Humphreys was, for the most part, mosquito free, a few still lingered but compared to what I had endured earlier the one or two didn't bother me. The dusty path was a well worn rut cut into the rolling landscape of green and yellow grasses and scattered boulders that had been left behind centuries ago when the glaciers that carved these monuments of stone receded. Before me in the distance rose the saddle of Piute Pass and behind me the growing cadence of footfalls sounded, getting louder as they approached, I stepped off to the side to let unknown hiker pass. “The climb outta here's a bitch, especially with all them mosquitoes back there.” Said the hiker as he approached. I turn to look and was able to put a face to the footsteps I had heard. He was dressed in blue, a fresh beard on his face and a hood pulled over his hat. “Yep. I know.” I said, as he caught up. “I climbed 2000 feet yesterday with this big ol' smile on my face.” he continued. “Nice!” I congratulated him, then asked, “Where are you comin' from?” “Sallie Keyes Lake.” He Answered. Then he noticed my cameras dangling around my neck, “Dude, nice camera set up you got goin' on! Is that film?” “Yes,” I answered. “A film camera, a digital camera with three lenses, and this Go-pro.” “Nice! What kind of film?” “High contrast Black and White.” “Very Cool, I'd love to see how those turn out.” I then pulled out my map and he showed me where he had come from. “Wow,” I remarked, “you've come a long way.” “Yeah, I'm hurting.” he replied. “So where are you headed?” I asked. “Just over the pass, though I was suppose to go over Bishop Pass a few days from now. My girlfriend was gonna pick me up there.” Then he added, “What about you?” “I don't know,” I answered, “The mosquitoes are horrible; they were bad at Golden Trout, and at Merriam, and they're probably gonna be bad at Piute, so I don't know where I'm going to go tonight, I'm thinking of heading out.” “I'd do the same but I don't have a way into town.” He explained. “I'll give you a ride,” I said. “You are a lifesaver, lets do it!” After more talking he introduced himself as Chase and said he was from the bay area and asked where I was from and if I post my photos anywhere. We then began hiking together up towards the pass. With as far as we had each gone and how sore we were becoming we renewed each others energy and endurance with our company, enough to continue on joyously in our climb to the top. He had one ear bud in and the other dangling, bouncing off his chest and was listening to an audio book of The Lord of the Rings. We talked some more about different topics until I asked him if he had a trail name. “No not yet, what about you?” “Ansel.” I answered. After a while longer I said, “So I've been thinking and I think I've got a trail name for you.” “What is it?” he asked. “Frodo.” “I like it!” We reached the top and rested before heading down the other side. The sun was low and a warm light graced the canyon that lay before us. The lakes of Piute, and Loch Leven and all the little tarns in between shown like sapphires nestled amongst the rocks and trees.