Day 76 – Diamond peak alTernate to tipsoo peak
June 24 | SOBO Miles 761ish-791.3
As soon as I heard rustlings this morning around 5:30, I knew it was going to be an early one.
We were on the move by 6:30, floating through the blessedly chilly mosquito-free morning air.
We did 10 by 10 and snacked on cereal at Windigo Pass, where we met back up with the PCT. On the way there we ran into and had a joyful reunion with a long lost friend, Sam, heading NOBO. We hadn’t seen her since Scissors Crossing… 2 1/2 months and 1200 miles ago!! At Windigo we also stocked up on a full water carry at the roadside cache, as there would be no on-trail water sources for the next who knows how many miles (we don’t like to take side trails longer than .1 miles to get water… call us lazy?).
The trail this afternoon climbed over gently graded forested ridges with expansive views. I spent my lunch break gobbling down Swiss cheese sandwiches overlooking Miller Lake.
I turned one corner and quietly shrieked with excitement when I saw a Black Bear cub run onto the trail, eye me down, and scamper away. But I wasn’t about to wait around for his mama.
As the afternoon set in, it was time for us to make our final climb to camp. Store Brand caught up to me in an exceptionally mosquitoey area, and we both danced around for a second while talking to keep the swarms at bay. All of us, Trashcan included, were deficient on water, each left with less than a liter to get us through the night. We were hoping to encounter some snowmelt on the way up, but instead we just found solid bricks of snow whose melt was absorbing into the pine needles below.
At a certain point we threw caution to the wind and decided to skip the snowbanks and go straight up the mountain. I lost Store Brand when I decided my route would be better because his was too roundabout. And then I ran into a rocky cliff that I couldn’t climb up.
I tracked to the right a few hundred feet, found an opening, and scaled a few rocks to get up on the precipice. And lo and behold, what was at the top of the cliff was a long running stream of water trickling off the edge. I squealed, chugged my whole remaining liter, and hastily filled two more bottles up with the good cold stuff.
Feeling smug and accomplished, I rolled into camp waving my fresh H2O. Our spot was a beautiful cliffside perch with amazing views of the valley below and mountains to the right.
Whilst we chilled and ate on our prime piece of land, we were met by two other hikers: Tai Chi, a Japanese legend who only uses paper maps and a compass, and Fish, a cool SoCal dude who joined us for the night. We’d seen him in the valley descending the very snowy ridge across from us as we looked over the cliff, and promptly yelled over to him. Within 10 minutes he was up there with us cracking jokes and telling us what a killer discount he got on gear as an REI employee. All were envious.
We chatted the night away in the brisk mosquito-free air, watching the sunset and staying out until last light. Fish learned the ways of cold soaking and cereal with milk powder from the masters themselves before we all hobbled to our tents for bed.