I drink almost a liter of water in my sleep, think I’m going to have to pee a million times in the night, but my bladder is apparently a champion. Plus, it’s hot in here – I wake sweaty, sticking awkwardly to my sleeping bag – so no need for my body to fight to keep me and my urine warm1. I wake at 5:30, feeling barely rested, am pulling clothes in at 5:40, am finally out of my tent at 6, and finally moving at 7:30. What the hell is wrong with me, that it takes me this long to move2?
But I’m moving, off and over the sketchy suspension bridge over Wood Creek that’s pretty well-built and that I shouldn’t be worried about, but am suspicious about anyway.
gliding along effortlessly getting my ass handed to me on even the smallest rolls of the trail. The first 0.3 take longer than I think they will – which bodes well for this day’s worth of climbing – but then, 800!
…It’s strange – I feel like I should care more that I’ve walked 800 miles to get here, but it’s pretty anticlimactic this morning. I’m way more worried about the climb ahead, about getting over the pass ahead, than I am about this momentous landmark. I’m not sure what that means.
Wood Creek is beautiful this morning, and strong, fast, roaring within its banks even this early in the morning. We go past a waterslide-looking section, and then up down into an only slightly less torrent-y section. It’s pretty, though.
A lot of stream to be crossed this morning, some of which I am successful at staying dry over, some of which I am not. A lot of down, too, for this section in which we are supposedly climbing to Pinchot Pass. Ugh. At least it’s gorgeous.
I find and lose and find and lose Sprinkles and Homegrown as we progress up the 7.5 mile incline, alternately get eaten and not eaten by mosquitoes for seemingly no rhyme or reason.
I’m feeling kind of down today, upset to be moving so slowly, and I’m pushing myself mentally but she cannae take anymore cap’n! It’s hard, harder than it should be, and once I’m so frustrated I almost cry.
Outro is waiting for us for the last up, and we cross a few snow fields and then make our way to the top.
It’s taken me 4.5 hours to go 7.5 miles – a 1.7 mile an hour pace. Woof. But I’m here, and it’s pretty pretty pretty.
Yoda runs off pretty much as soon as I arrive, but everyone else loiters, eats, relaxes. Then it’s down, down to Lake Marjorie for another break to coo over the blue-blue water and sing the Jurassic Park theme song, among others.
Someone mentions the song “Are we humans / Or are we dancers?”; I turn it into “Are we humans / Or are we marmots?”, because it’s topical and makes about as much sense as the original.
I’m singing it near a stream crossing when a marmot actually crosses about 5 feet in front of me. I see the similarities – we thruhikers run around like we own the place, start staring and sidling closer when food is brought out, are bolder in the face of potential danger than maybe we ought to be. The stream crossings are getting woolier as the day progresses, but we’re all watching each other’s backs.
Then it’s down some more, down to the wooliest crossing, Kings River – the stout tree we cross on almost doesn’t seem stout enough as we catch back up to Yoda, who leaves almost immediately. I hope she’s okay.
The other group we’ve been leapfrogging around decides to try for Mather Pass tonight, since it’s still early – around 4pm – but it’s 5 miles up and then another 3 to the next site, and we’re not sure we can make it. I think I can make it another few miles, but since another group already claimed the site closest to the top, and since Homegrown and Sprinkles start setting up just a bit on from the crossing, I guess I’m here for the night. Smiles, not miles, certainly through the Sierra. And particularly since I’ve planned a 19-mile day for tomorrow, which gets us to the base of Muir Pass.
And so it is we find ourselves with the luxury of an evening to sit, to chat, to get to know each other a little better, and, when the mosquitoes chase us into our shelters, to write. I’m up late being responsible, but I’m glad for the evening, and when sleep finally comes, I’m glad for that, too.
Start: 799.8 • End: 811.7 • Day: 11.9
Notable Accomplishments: Pinchot goddamn Pass • Two more main passes to go • Got to know the Wolfpack a little better
 Normally, this is why you should always get up and pee at night when you need to.
 Nevermind that I did two passes and nearly 20 miles yesterday.