Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Day 51: First sight of Sierra snow

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Date: June 19, 2017
Miles: 17.6 miles (28.3km), from mile 724.2 to mile 741.8.
Health: Walking feels great but the Altra's are hurting one of my toes. Need to find a solution for that.

Everyone wakes up after 5am and we quickly break down our camp. This was my first time sleeping at 10,000 feet (3km) and it was great. The night was actually so warm that at one point I had to wake up and remove clothing.

Camp Counselor and Poison Ivy stay back to eat breakfast while others head out. We're going down for a while so it's going to be an easy morning.

Morning on trail.  

Morning on trail.  

The views are amazing and we can see the Sierra range and snow topped mountains not far away. That's where we're going. I'm actually really excited about getting on snow.

I was last from our group to leave the camp and I catch Fyre down at the first water source, about 5 miles (8km) down from our camp. We dry camped, and I didn't want to carry too much water to the top of the mountain, so I was already getting a bit thirsty.

My new Pa'lante Pack with bear canister.  

My new Pa'lante Pack with bear canister.  

I fill up about a liter, camel up a second liter, and then head after Fyre. Others are little ahead. I soon catch up to Fyre again but nature calls and I have to go dig a hole in the woods. Had a beautiful view this morning for hole digging.

Back on the trail I soon catch up to Fyre again as I'm always almost running downhill. She lets me pass and I continue on while listening to the best of Backstreet Boys. Great hiking music!

Fire Ant.  

Fire Ant.  

After a while I catch Fire Ant and as the trail levels up we hike at the same pace. We cross an absolutely gorgeous meadow and stay there for a while to wonder at the beauty of our surroundings. After some up and downs we get to the next water source where Sunshine and Dandelion are already waiting and having the second breakfast. Fyre soon joins too.

Alpine meadows.  

Alpine meadows.  

We eat and play with our bear canisters. While I don't really like the canister, it makes for a handy stool to sit on. Camp Counselor and Poison Ivy catch up to us too. We talk about food, which seems to be one of the most common conversation topics on the trail. We talk about what we want to eat when we get to next town, what to put on our next resupply, being vegan, trail foods we like and dislike, what we want to eat after we're done with the PCT, and so on.

Sadly we have to move on as the trail calls. From here we climb over 1,600 feet of elevation back to 10,000 feet. It's not that much but the sun is already out at full force, and everyone still feels tired from yesterday's climb.

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Others go first and I leave with Camp Counselor and Poison Ivy. They're only section hiking and ending their hike in Lone Pine so I want to spend as much time with them as possible. They both leave a little bit before me but head out on the wrong trail. I yell after them and soon we're all on the right trail and climbing up a mountain under a burning sun.

I love these tree trunks here.  

I love these tree trunks here.  

We pass Fyre at one point and she's having difficulties breathing. She assures us she's ok and we continue. It's the elevation. I'm having surprisingly little trouble with the elevation, especially considering how hard San Jacinto was for me.

Fire Ant climbing.  

Fire Ant climbing.  

The girls decide that they need a break and stop for a siesta. I need to continue as I want to make it to Lone Pine before the night to meet Blis and it's a little over 21 mile hike.

After more climbing I reach the top where I find the others taking a nap. There's also cell reception so I manage to call home and tell my parents I'm ok. I also receive a large number of messages asking if I'm ok and why my blog hasn't been updated for a while. It's hard when you often don't have connection and free time at the same time.

Break at the top.  

Break at the top.  

I try to upload new posts but the network is so slow that I can't get anything online. I waste two hours and most of my phones charge trying to update my site.

Gear malfunction.  

Gear malfunction.  

There's some snow on the top and we play with Fire Ant and practice self arresting with my ice axe. It's so much fun to play in the snow.

I'm so tired that instead of hiking on, I stay with the girls at the top of the mountain and siesta for few hours. But soon it's time to start moving again.

Naptime! 

Naptime! 

We hike on and I start to feel really tired. I stay back constantly and only catch up to KB, Dandelion, and Fire Ant at the bottom of the mountain, while they stop to get more water from the river. Fyre catches with us too.

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I don't feel like hiking on, and knowing that this is where Katie and Natalie had planned to stop, I stay back as the girls head on. I set my pad against a rock where I can see the trail and also the view from the mountain.

Watching the sunset.  

Watching the sunset.  

Not long after the girls have gone on, I see big thunder cloud appear around the mountain and going towards where the girls just headed. I watch and wonder at the thunder and lightning as the cloud passes me by.

Sunset.  

Sunset.  

After a while I see Katie and Natalie appear down the trail. We look at the sunset for a while and then go set up our camp. I set up cowboy style and the girls set up their tent. They're having some trouble with their inner net zippers.

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We talk long into the night, watching the stars. As the girls fall asleep, I try to sleep as well but the mosquitoes keep me awake. I try to fall asleep but the pesky bastards wake me up every time I almost fall asleep.

I get tired with the mosquitoes and quickly get up and set my tarp up. I get in and soon fall asleep.