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Today was an incredible day. I woke up to a very cold morning but I was very toasty in my tent. The wind really picked up last night but as always my tent did very well and I stayed warm. I had to put on every layer minus my rain shell to stay warm but we’re in the Sierra now, that’s expected. I walked down to the lake to get water. It was cold but extremely peaceful. The sun had only hit the peaks above the lake but not the lake itself. It had a deep blue tone to it. We all laid around and made coffee while the day warmed up. I left around 7:30 with Rugy (Arugula) and we split up shortly since I needed a bathroom break.
I hiked alone for hours. It was cold but sunny and beautiful. The views were of meadows below and peaks ahead. The earth was snowy white but only with soft sand. There was a breeze that kept me cool and relaxed. It was so peaceful. The sand was soft and easy on my body. I felt no rush at all and it was great. We entered the Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Park only a few miles into the day. I stopped for a break mid morning, probably 6 miles in and Rugy came to join along with Thin Mint. Rugy and I did a meditation that felt wonderful and then hiked and chatted for a while. We sat by a crystal clear and very cold spring for a break and concluded that we felt we’d be friends for life. We felt like we were trail brother and sister, which made me glad. Some of my best friends today are from the AT. Clockwork showed up and we decided to take a large lunch break at the next river crossing.
A large group, all hikers we knew plus a few day hikers showed up. The creek was gorgeous with red rocks strewn about it and vibrant trout swimming. It was cold and tasted great. I made a ramen filled with dehydrated mushrooms and took a nap in the half shade. We had a pretty nasty climb coming up so Rugy and I took an energy gel. I took deep breaths and shot up the climb like nothing. It feels so good to me to push myself and feel challenged and overcome it. I feel so alive. It was very steep and reminded me of the AT for the first time out here. There was a flat section in the middle and then an even steeper climb. For some reason I’m very competitive and I looked ahead of me and saw a hiker and said to myself “there’s no way he’s beating me up this climb” and I looked behind me and thought “there’s no way he’s catching me”. It motivates me when doing large climbs so I go with it. It’s like I can turn a switch on and go. I raced up, passed the guy in front of me and didn’t stop once. Lots of deep breathing and pushing. It feels amazing when I know the climb is over.
The rest of the day was gorgeous. Large meadows, cold, clear creeks, granite peaks, blue skies, fragrant red pines. I was in love and it felt so good to be here. I remembered why I loved thru-hiking to begin with. Rugy and I had a break and did one last climb. I had minor arch pain again so I slowed down on the descent. We decided to go to the Crabtree meadow where everyone else is and call it a night. It was a gorgeous side trail following Whitney creek. We arrived in a large meadow and met our family. We all sat and ate and did rose, bud, thorn again. I really like the group around us. It feels like a lot of great people. Tomorrow I won’t be submitting Whitney. It was never in my plans to do so. I’m not much of a mountaineer so I’m going to continue forward with AB and Thin Mint and we will get to town one day earlier than the rest. What a beautiful day.