I awoke a few times during the night, the wind really kicked up and I was cowboy camping, so I didn't have a wind break. I slept better than the previous 3 nights, however.
I was up and walking before dawn came (although I suspect the sun was up on the other side of Isberg Pass already) and I wandered cross country until I found the trail leading up to Isberg Pass.
The walk up was much less strenuous than the previous day (it was also only about 800 feet, and not 1500), and the pass itself was broad and beautiful.
As I wandered the pass, I remembered that Rocky had told me I'd get a solid cell signal up at the pass. And figured I would give my parents a call and let them know I was okay.
My mom answered and I gushed for about 5 minutes about the spot I'd camped at the night before and how good my body was feeling. I'd been extremely worried that my legs were going to fail me, but my daily routine of walking the miles, resting often and going up the passes early in the morning had made my travels amazing thus far.
Somewhere on the pass, I left Yosemite and entered Ansel Adams wilderness.
After hanging up with my very happy mother, I sat and ate my breakfast, looking east from the pass. Just as I was finishing up, Aaron and Krystle came wandering up. I am pretty sure I made Krystle's day by offering her some of my shelf-stable bacon, and as I stood to wander down, they followed me.
Heading downhill, my legs felt great, my feet felt great. I was ready for a long day.
About 2/3 of the way down, I stopped to have another small snack, and bid Aaron and Krystle farewell... wondering if our paths would cross again.
At some point, I passed Aaron and Krystle and then decided to camel up at a water source that was definitely the sketchiest I'd drank from on my trip so far.
I ran into a couple guys who'd hiked from Red's Meadow about 8 miles into my day, and they gave me a water report (which from their telling, freaked me out, simply because it was blatantly inaccurate).
They told me that it was dry from the place I planned to stop midday until Hemlock Crossing (about 10 miles) and that it was dry beyond Hemlock Crossing for about 12 miles. This meant I'd have to carry a LOT of water to prevent dehydration. Probably a full 6L, because I'm paranoid like that.
I soldiered on, and kept putting on the miles, resting when I got tired, and walking when I wasn't. I knew this was going to be a long day and I was prepared for the challenge.
About 2 miles from Hemlock crossing, I got to a stream that was flowing amazingly well, (bad water report #1) and decided to push on, despite the rumble in the back of my mind that that was a great spot to camp.
It was only about 2 more miles, and it was downhill... how bad could it be?
Well, it was awful. My legs were tired, the trail was poor (at best) and it was mostly loose talus and it took me forever to walk that two miles.
Every step was slow, cautious and strenuous.
By the time I got to the valley, the sun was hidden behind the ridges and it was getting dark fast. I barely had time to get water, set up my tent before it was pitch black where we were.
I'd made it to my goal, but I had a horrible blister from walking down that talus on the outside of my left heel.
The next morning, I'd realize that that blister was caused by the insulation from the inside lining of my shoe 'exploding' and leaking over the course of the day. (The spot inside my foot, between the laces & my heel).
All in all, it was a beautiful day of hiking, but I pushed too far, too hard, and should've listened to my internal clock and stopped at that first opportunity.
With this amazing Wisconsin weather (for December), I decided to get outside and wander today. My friend Amy decided to join and the two of us had an amazing little 4ish mile wander into the woods near Holy Hill.
As we wandered through the Holy Hill area, we climbed up on one of the blue-blaze side trails to the "Glacial Errata" This trial took us high up onto a moraine and gave some outstanding views. It's one of my favorite sections of the Ice Age Trail as a result.
We wandered through the woods and had a wonderful time just being outdoors in the beautiful weather. As we wandered down from the high point of the hike, the trail became very smooth and just wandered through the trees. It was the first time I'd hiked this section without leaves covering everything up and it allowed for some spectacular views.
On the walk back, we took the Yellow Blazes and wandered by a small frozen pool of water... I was a bit surprised that anything was iced over. Clearly it was colder there than it was in Milwaukee the last couple days!
All in all, the time outside was needed. I didn't really realize it until I was out there. A couple quiet and beautiful hours spent outdoors.
Kid A is an avid hiker, backpacker and outdoors enthusiast located in Milwaukee