Day 42: Sporadic Snow

From Kern River mile 716.5 to Death Creek Canyon mile 730.8

The rain stopped last night after we pitched camp but we woke up this morning in a thick fog and everything was soaked.  As we broke camp the sun burned through so we moved our tents to a sunny spot to dry.  We didn’t walk till 9.

As we climbed, at around 9,000 feet we started to see areas with snow.  At 9,500 we started to have snow to walk on, but it was sporadic.  There would be 20 feet of snow to cross then bare earth again for 60 feet then back on snow.  It was not enough to use my crampons but some of the spots were pretty slick.

Near 10,000 feet we hit a long stretch of snow and lost the trail.  Another hiker was in the same boat and seemed certain of the direction to head.  We went along, and the direction was wrong.  We spent 3 hours bushwacking through some very difficult terrain.  We eventually found our way back to the trail but had wasted hours and much energy.

We camped at Death Creek.  Chris and I are the only folks camped on the south side of the creek in a lovely pine grove.  There are at least 20 camped on the north side, just out of sight and sound from us.

It is 20 miles to Chicken Spring Lake where we need to be by Saturday night. Tomorrow we will do at least 15 of that, perhaps leaving just Cottonwood Pass for Saturday.  We will be up over 11,000 feet tomorrow so it should be all snow.