Mile 739 to Cottonwood pass – 11 miles (17km) – 750 miles total.
We got an early start in the morning to try and beat the slushy snow. Leaving at 5.30am. It was two miles of down hill, then all up hill. The snow started about a mile or so into the up hill and the best laid plans were not good enough. Even that early in the morning the snow was becoming slushy which made for slow going.
As the trail changed back to the south side of the mountain, the trail became snow free for a while, but then the snow started again all the way to cottonwood Pass. However, this time it was through a beautiful open meadow of snow, which made the slow going worth it.
At cottonwood pass the plan was to descend down to a campground to get a hitch into lone pine. The switch backs to descend were nonexistent in the snow, so I just followed someone else’s foot prints. Foolishness! It was slushy snow in the afternoon and I was soon bushbashing and wading across crazy creeks to get back on trail. All part of the fun of hiking. I finally found the trail again and made it to the campground. After a half hour wait a car with 3 hikers in it pulled over to give us a lift. We managed to squeeze another 4 hikers into that car, plus packs. It was a very uncomfortable 20 mile drive, but finally we made it to lone pine, where food and showers were a must.
Today I am thankful for beautiful snow fields.