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Today was the prettiest day yet. We woke around 6 to a frigid morning and slowly broke camp. It was cold and cloudy and we had a long ascent with a few steep spots. Somehow I felt like it was fine and I kept looking at the elevation plot which looked bad and then after the climb saying “well that was a joke”. I suppose it felt good to feel strong.
We took a nice break at a gorgeous overlook. We could see the dinky highway 395 way way in the distance. I waited almost 30 minutes for everyone to show up so I must’ve been cruising up the climb. We went another 4 miles or so and took another break and met some new folks we’d been seeing around. Tigger and Hayley. We pushed on again to a pretty meadow and had a longer break. From there we has just under 8 miles left. We pushed to what we thought was a reliable spring but there was only a slight trickle. We got water anyway and did the final 4 miles.
The trail climbed up and bit and looked out over a valley. As it wound around the mountain we came to a gorgeous meadow and cut through it. It was spectacular. I saw my first marmots. The trail climbed again and wound past another gorgeous meadow and up to Cottonwood Pass. There was one more dinky climb up to Chicken Spring Lake which I arrived at to find Bright Side, Lefty, Slayer, Sissifiss, Jedi, AB, Frank, Bill Nye, and Sabrina. There were plenty of others I hadn’t met too. We washed off in the lake and got water and had a large communal dinner circle as the sun set. It was cold but beautiful. We had great company and great conversations. We finally have made it to the Sierra I have longed for.