Chicken Spring Lake to Crabtree Meadows Ranger Station CG (750.8 to 766.9 + .6 miles to CG)
Daily miles: 16.1
At 4:30 in the morning a gust of wind came and smashed my tent like it was some little playtoy. I crawl outside and try to get everything in order again and somehow manage to succeed and sleep until 8. Nice and late for a frigid morning at 11,000 feet. I’m slow this morning because my hand is cramped up from being frozen for so long last night.
A beauty of a day with long ridge walking and open views of the mountain on all sides. I keep trying to pick out Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48, since I’ll be climbing it tomorrow. So far it evades me.
That is, until I drop down into Rock Creek to gather water and ford its thigh-high depths before climbing up and out and into the next drainage. Then, I see the unmistakable spires of that tallest mountain and it’s compamion peaks. It’s a site for sure, and makes me feel like I’m in the bona-fide High Sierra.
Crabtree Meadows is there too, with a swollen river. I take off my shoes and socks to walk across it, and the water chills my feet. It’s a fine feeling. Marmots waddle about in the evening light, doing whatever it is marmot do (looking for food to steal).
There’s a side trail to the ranger station that traces the path of a stream lined with big old pines. The light is low and the smell is invigorating. I find a tent site among the trees on the edge of a meadow and make dinner in time to enjoy a windless evening with alpenglow off the westward facing mountains. A great contrast to the stress and fatigue of the previous night.