Today was a bit surreal. I walked through country that I would have thought possible only in fairy tales; I mused deeply, but more often fought to keep self-deprecation and inane babbling at bay; I climbed a mountain that seemed never to end (atop which I’m camped tonight and which I’m lead to understand is climbing toward the easiest pass in the range, Selden).
Have you ever counted your footsteps? It’s an activity that can lead to madness, but is also strangely calming: a mantra that not only quiets other thoughts, but also shows that no matter how terribly slowly you’re going, you are making progress. I did not allow myself this habit on earlier hikes, but it’s been a lifesaver here.
So I’m now looking at ending my journey at Kearsage Pass rather than Kennedy Meadows. It’s about 80 miles closer, which is really a far more reasonable distance here, and I’ll still have tasted the high points of the Sierra. Somehow, when I’m planning, I almost always overestimate what I will actually wish to and be able to do. I read that PCT hikers do 18 miles a day in the Sierra, so of course I will, too, even though I haven’t the training for it as they have, and many of them drop mileage over the passes. Of course I can make it 200 miles without resupplying—JMT fastpackers do it. Then reality shows up and kicks me in the butt. I’ve been managing 12 miles a day up here—not nearly enough to get through on what I have. And frankly, I still let the romanticism creep in. From home, two weeks seems like a lark; out here, it’s a grinder.
I imagine I will learn someday. I’m hoping it’s sooner rather than later.