This morning started off beautifully. It wasn’t cold, we had clear blue skies and we were feeling optimistic about doing 15 miles. First up we had a huge climb to contend with. It’s incredible how difficult the altitude makes climbing. We were reaching 12 000ft and every breath was laboured! Yesterday I’d been feeling ill altitude sickness but thankfully today it was all better and didn’t come back.
The hiking today was exhausting. Most of the trail was under snow which made for really slow going. Thankfully it’s quite easy to navigate, following ridges or contouring along the side of a mountain. When we couldn’t see the trail we at least knew which way to walk.
We had lunch around 13:30 and had only done 9 miles. Both of us were pretty tired so when we looked at the map and saw their was a lower alternate route to avoid snow and lightning we both jumped at the opportunity. It would be so nice to see a bit of trail instead of walking constantly on melting snow!
This has been a high snow year but we never expected that even the lower alternate route would still be completely covered in snow! I don’t think we gained anything expect for coming lower and now having to go back up. We also had a scary moment when we realised we had to cross a river but the river was a raging torrent! There was no way we could cross it so we had to hike up above this cliff face so we could follow the river from above, then look for a way down and see if we could find a safer crossing. It was terrifying walking through snowy forest without the slightest idea if you’ll find a better spot to cross. Eventually we managed to get back down to the river and are camped in clearing near the river. Crossing it will be tomorrow’s problem.