Monday, June 18, 2012

18 June - Day 58 - An obstacle course near-marathon of blow downs

From VVR ferry turnoff (877.3) to campsite at Deer Creek (Mile 901.1)

Total PCTMiles Hiked Today: 23.8
Total Miles Today: 25.7

We did not intend this day to be so lonnnng.

We had another great breakfast at VVR then boarded the ferry.

Dionysus sitting next to The Donald on the ferry.

The ferry dropped us off at the eastern end of the lake about 9:30 am.

But now we started increasingly encountering blow downs. Earlier this year a freak storm roared down from the north with hurricane force winds and toppled thousands of mature pines in a large swath of the Sierras.

Today we really had a time making our way around, over, under, between, and through the timber debris. Despite that, Dionysus did quite well with lower pain levels. The rest at VVR apparently did some good.

Then I rolled my ankle badly trying to step around and through the uprooted soil, and the fall sent me on my back down an overhanging boulder above a whitewater creek. Sidekick (Sean) grabbed my hands and pulled me back up. The ankle looked bad.

The sprain had burst the bursa sac, so the fluid swelled the outside of my left ankle. It looked like someone had crammed a small mango under the skin of my ankle. But we tested the ankle right away for range of motion, and the possibility of a break.

No break.

We soaked my foot down in the cold creek while humungous ants crawled on me & mosquitos bit. Ugh.

The ankle could bear weight, and Rubylocks urged me to use her trekking poles - so we continued down the trail with me limping & hobbling. But I got better at managing the loose ankle and soon gave R her poles back.

Now we all wanted to make best time to get to the town of Mammoth Lakes. Our original plan was to hike 15 miles or so then another 13 the next day. Now we concentrated, took no breaks, and wound & wove our way through a landscape increasingly difficult with downed trees. Work crews had clearly been hard at work blazing a way for hikers (& we were very grateful), but the task was Herculean, and much remains to be done.

Around 5:30 pm we came to the last campsite listed on the map for some distance - but the group wanted to push on for a couple more hours. We always had the chance of finding sites not marked on the maps.

As it turned out, no other opportunity presented itself as we hiked across a long mountain slope with stunning views, and on into the night.

We soon had our headlamps on and night-hiked through the tangled blowdowns, across creeks, and up & down mountains. I was so fortunate my ankle held up despite the roots and rocks that caught and jarred my foot. And Dionysus did very well!

We crossed the 900 mile mark about 10 pm.

We hiked rather exhausted into our camp site at 10:30 pm. We quickly set up tents, and collapsed into sleep. Ruby sacked out next to the fire by two hikers who were already asleep there.

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