Mile: 958.4 to 973.4
Miles Hiked = 15.0
So I slept well enough last night – very typical for a night in the wilderness in a small tent. I toss and turn. A sleeping pad is definitely not as comfortable as a bed. I usually have to get up once – that’s also not quite so easy either. I definitely sleep better at home – I guess that’s not surprising.
I was up a little after six and was hiking by 7:20. If I was trying to hike a twenty mile day I would have been up earlier but that was not my plan – at least for this first week .
My morning hike looked like this – a descent of about 1000 feet and then an uphill climb of 1500 feet to Benson Pass at Mile 966.
Benson Pass is over 10,000 feet and I was definitely feeling the altitude on the way up. I wasn’t moving very fast – it took me over 4 hours to hike the 7.9 miles to the pass. Hopefully I’ll get stronger once I acclimatize. But I enjoyed some nice scenery.
The afternoon hike was a big descent – over 2500 feet. That’s Benson Pass on the left and the low point at Benson Lake Junction on the right.
The trail down was rugged. There were lots of big downhill steps, loose rocks, patches of snow and mud and water from all the snow melt. This is some rugged country.
Coming downhill in rugged terrain like this is always more dangerous than going up. It would be very easy to turn an ankle or take a fall. I’m always very focused when I’m going downhill, especially when the trail is not smooth.
There were a few isolated patches of snow today but nothing dangerous or requiring micro spikes.
It was cooler today than yesterday because of the cloud cover – there was even a few drops of rain.
I waded across three streams again today – they were all easy and the water was never above my knees. There were a couple other streams that I crossed on fallen trees.
I hiked 15 miles today, which was my plan, but I don’t think I could have gone much further even if I had wanted to. I’ll need to get stronger if I’m going to make it to Oregon in seven weeks.
I camped right off the trail in a little spot big enough for one tent. It was right next to the stream and had beautiful views across the canyon.
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