Day 35: Death Canyon to Chicken Spring Lake (20.0 miles - 750.8)
Updated: Aug 25, 2019
June 11, 2016 - I tried to wake up early but couldn’t get moving around until after 6am and didn’t even leave camp until after 7am, last one to leave. My body felt better today. It took almost no time to loosen up my back and stayed pain free all day. The only thing that gave me trouble was the tendonitis in my knee which went away after a few miles. Each day my knee keeps getting better so that is promising.
I wasn’t sure how far I would go, anywhere between 20-36. Really it didn’t matter because since I’m heading up Mt Whitney I have to stop at Crabtree Meadow which is 36 miles out from Death Canyon. 36 was going to be way too much but 20 seemed too short. It was all going to depend on the weather and pretty much from the start of the day it looked like storms were coming in.
I had a nice 6 mile climb out of camp. Close to the top I got a nice view of the desert. Then soon after I noticed a lot of people in the area looking at their phones so I assumed there was cell reception and turns out there was. I was surprised by that, I figured there wouldn’t be any in the Sierras. So I uploaded my journal then continued to the top. I didn’t want to hang around too long as it was very cold and windy at that spot.
Lots of great views on the day as I would go in and out of the pine forest. Most of the day was uphill or downhill, just not flat spots. However, the trail was pretty gradual which made the hiking easy. I saw a few pockets of snow but nothing to worry about yet but I know that’s about to change.
The last part of the day was the 8.5 mile uphill over Cottonwood Pass at over 11,000 feet. I had heard a little thunder on my way up and was hoping the storm would hold off until I got over the other side and was heading down into protective forest. Not much happened but got a few sprinklers which I thought were going to turn into much worse conditions.
A half mile past Cottonwood Pass I end up at Chicken Spring Lake. This gave me 20 miles for the day which was how far I wanted to get to today but kind of wanted to get more. I debated for awhile on whether to move on but didn’t make sense as I was going to stop at the same spot, Crabtree Meadows, no matter how much farther I go today. Almost made sense just to stay put as the clouds were starting to get darker and a storm looked like it was rolling in. Plus it’s probably smart to keep mileage low to help my body get back to 100%.
The clouds kept coming and going, some gray and some white, so not really sure what to make of it. I’ve heard of rain tonight and turning into snow so we’ll see what happens but for now I’m enjoying hanging at this hidden lake way up in the mountains, over 10,000 feet, and using the snow around to ice my knee.
There are several people camping out at the spot, mostly those that I camped with last night, but I will say I was the first to arrive even though I was the last to leave this morning.
Right before bedtime I see a storm rolling in and it’s looks like a big one, big dark clouds with thunder just as the sun was setting. Should make for a fun evening.