15.2 miles (plus 0.5 miles on side trail for water)
Last night was one of a hanful of nights that I have been warm and actually slept. It was quite nice to get some decent sleep. I think being exhausted from hiking all day helped too.
After getting everything packed we hiked the half mile back to the water source I visited yesterday. We grabbed a couple of liters of water and continued hiking the rest of the way up the mountain. It was slow going but we didn't have much left to do since we did most of it yesterday.
Upon reaching the top we found a wonderful spot to take a break, with a view of the upcoming mountains we would have to cross. We ate some yummy mixed but trail mix that my mom sent us to KM and finished it up with a Snickers. We have found Snickers bars to be a excellent fuel source, I'm sure the nuts help too.
With around 7 miles to go until our next water source we got back on the trail. The trail decended down the back side of the mountain that we just finished climbing. Giving us more beautiful views of meadows and mountains. A couple of miles before we reached Death Canyon Creek we had the pleasure of walking through Gomez Meadow. A large meadow surrounded by ginormous rock formations that reached hundreds of feet into the air.
This place is so grand and really makes you feel tiny. Everything here is so massive.
When we arrived at Death Canyon Creek a couple of friends, Happy Nomad and Butterfly, were sitting under a tree. They had left Kennedy Meadows hours before we did and they usually do much higher mileage days that we do, so we were surprised to see them there. The reason we caught them is that Happy Nomad thinks he broke his foot and is in a lot of pain and therefore they are doing really low mileage days. They are trying to reach Cottonwood Pass and get into town ASAP. How he is hiking on a broken leg is beyond us. We can hardly get up these mountains with two good feet. We are hoping for the best and he can return to the trail soon.
While we rested under a tree next to Happy Nomad and Butterfly we talked about our plans for the next four days including Mt. Whitney. No surprise here, but, months ago when we packed up our resupply box for this section we forgot to include an extra day of food for Mt. Whitney. We thought about rationing our food but we are already so hungry as it is that it would greatly impact how we hiked the rest of the days. Also, we are struggling with these heavy packs and steep terrain that it would probably be best if we didn't add more to our plate. We would like to have been able to do Whitney since we are here but it doesn't look like it is going to happen.
It was now getting time to leave and we needed to figure out where we were going and how much water to bring. The Water Report said that there was a somewhat reliable stream five miles up trail and then a half mile off trail. There were no comments in the report from other hikers that said if the stream was flowing or not. We toyed around with the idea of staying there at Death Canyon Creek but it would make it only a 9 mile day. We really needed to do more miles than that. We crossed our fingers and set off for the stream.
The trail climbed and climbed as it so often does taking us over 10,000 feet, again. The elevation, on top of everything else, is really slowing us down but we did it. Sure we hike slow and have to take a lot of breathers but we do get there. We feel like the Sierra is kicking our butts though. The heavier packs is making it especially hard.
We made it to the side trail and took it a half a mile. There we would find a small meadow with a tiny stream running down the middle of it. Our gamble had paid off and there was water here! That meant that we could cook some food, wash some socks, and of course hydrate.
We have the beautiful meadow to ourselves an we are listening to the sounds of Mandie stomach growling. It took us a few minutes to realize it was her stomach and not some animal outside. I swear, those night time sounds freak us out
We heard sounds at night
That gave us a great big fright
Turns our it's Mandie