Day 2 on the High Sierra Trail was spectacular. Woke up 7:30 am, temperature was about 36 degrees and it all seemed just perfect. Sun was already out and shining, birds chirping and Irwin yelling, “WAKE DAFUQ UUUUUP!” The rest of the crew finally woke up. Fabian treated Daniel’s blister, while the rest of us packed up. Breakfast was light, I had a brownie snack bar and a protein bar. no coffee, this was the hardest part of the day if you ask me.
About 1 mile from our campsite, we hit Bearpaw Meadows. A nice cabin is available by reservation, good for rainy or snowy days. The views were ok, due to fog in the air, we could not see too far into the valley. From here, we headed east and started ascending the Great Western Divide. The way to go from here was up, a moderate climb to Hamilton Lake. We arrived to the bridge of Lone Pine Creek, where we took a nice 15-20 minute break before the uphill begun. We were looking to gain some 2,000ft up to Hamilton Lake. The switchbacks were long and felt never ending as we made our way up Angels Wings; a huge granite wall/cliff. The issue was not only the distance, the fact that we would gain a few thousand feet only to drop again was mind fucking. Nevertheless, already on the trail, no way to turn back, and the views were well worth it.
12:05pm, filtered water at Hamilton Creek, right below Angels Wings. We would drink plenty of water while at the source, and filtered about 1/2 liter for the way. Pretty cool how that’s all the water we carried at all times.
Around 12:40, we arrived to Hamilton Lake. Not sure if I enjoyed the views, or the break. Packs off, nice long break, but we all decided to save lunch for the next stop; Precipice Lake. I snacked on beef jerky and a protein bar, I was good to go. Another climb was in store for us, about 2,500ft. As soon as we left Hamilton Lake, the trail get’s steep, with some more switchbacks (YAY), only way to go is up.
The trail ascending Angels Wings was pretty tough. Views of Hamilton Lake and the Great Western Divide were amazing, I looked back every chance I got. We were hungry and tired, close to 2pm, a quick break was very well enjoyed, time to catch our breath. Closing in on 22miles or so, the best was yet to come. 3:15pm, After a very tough strenuous climb, you are rewarded with crystal clear water, Precipice Lake. Perhaps my favorite spot along the trail. WOW, my jaw dropped. Daniel and I had been making plans to jump in and enjoy a nice swim. All that quickly changed when we took off our shoes and socks, and submerged feet into the burning freezing cold water. Yes, water so cold it would actually burn after a few seconds. It was a bit windy and cloudy, no sun. The time to jump in was then and there; we decided to stay dry and warm, and I tossed on my down jacket instead. Irwin shared a pita bread, salami and pepperoni, lunch was ready quick. After all, he packed sooo much food, every chance he got to get rid of the extra weight was glorious. David took a quick nap, and warmed up water for a dehydrated meal when woke up. Daniel and Fabian had pita bread as well. Chilled for some 45minutes, took pics and got on our way.
Bellies full and well rested, time now 4:35pm, our trek continued to the next destination, Moraine Lake, scheduled to arrive between 10-11pm. This was a tough day, and still had about 8miles to go.
Finally arrived to the Kaweah Gap, 10,700ft elevation, only to drop a few hundred feet into the Big Arroyo Junction trail. From here, it got somewhat easy, no more switchbacks or uphills for a while. At around 6:33pm, we stopped at a junction, quick break before going uphill, again. Along the way, now more acquainted than the previous day, we were all laughs and smiles, someone always had something to say. Fabian, leading this trek would stop and check the map to make sure we were going in the right direction, and also kept an eye out for water sources. Although we were on time crunch, all breaks were very well enjoyed and delayed, some talks/debates would take longer than usual, thus making time get lost in the air. Like I said, well enjoyed much needed breaks.
Sun started setting, and it was time for headlamps. As planned, we arrived to our campsite at around 10:50pm. We knew the drill; all food in bear canisters and prep the 5-billion star room for the night. The night was chilly, about 33 degrees. I slept nice and toasty in my 19 degree bag with only a thermo shirt on. Occasionally, I got hot and uncovered, then mother nature had me covering back with the quickness with mild winds.