I find that I haven't left the snow behind in the Sierra Nevada, I have to unexpectedly use my flip-flops to hike along the trail, and something happens for the first time since I started on the trail almost 3 months ago - I get rained on! I can't say I'm sorry to leave the Sierras. Yes, the sights and scenery were spectacular, I feel privileged to have summited Mount Whitney, and the sense of being really out in the wilderness, so far from civilisation, was captivating. But it was SO TOUGH. Not just because of the physical challenges of traveling through a major mountain range covered in snow, but also the mental stress of putting myself into dangerous situations that were totally out of my comfort zone. For instance, climbing up Muir Pass, where I had to take on the most dangerous river crossing of the whole trail, and then be constantly petrified at the thought of crashing through rapidly melting ice bridges into the streams below the ice, was particularly taxing. So I was a little perplexed to find that the snow didn't end when I left the Sierras. Thankfully, there was much less of it, but just enough to focus the attention. The summer snow melt continues to provide many opportunities to collect drinking water, but it can also make life difficult. One such occasion was when I had to wade through a tunnel where water was flowing down the trail. Fortunately, I am carrying a pair of flip-flops, for wearing in the evening when I finish hiking for the day. Having taken off my hiking shoes, the flip-flops proved to be ideal footwear for this couple of hundred metres of soggy trail. And talking of soggy, I actually had to put up my umbrella to keep the rain off me! Since I started on 4th April I have been snowed on twice, but this was the first time I used my light-weight trekking umbrella for anything other than providing shade from the beating Californian sun. Fortunately, it was just a couple of light showers, and it wasn't long before the umbrella could be packed away.
Leaving the Sierras behind full of hope.
Still working on calorie deficit - Korean BBQ in Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Aloha, and the first sign of more snow.
More mountains, more snow!
Almost into July, and yet, more snow.
Trying to get back to the trail after resupplying.
The summer snow melt, part 1.
The summer snow melt, part 2.
I shouldn't be surprised!