Long Lake to Le Conte Canyon
It is surprisingly windy and cold below Bishop Pass. We hit the trail by 6:30am, wearing more clothes than usual when walking. We push hard through the granite Stairmaster, reaching the top by 8:00am. The views are awesome, but we now face an elevation drop from about 12,000 feet down to 8,700. The steep decline is easy on the lungs, but devastating to the knees and ankles. A huge inviting water slide parallels us down the incline, but ends in a giant log jam, which puts a sudden end to our fantasy ride.
At the bottom, we turn right on the John Muir Trail, and head back up. Our time in lower elevation is quickly ended. We enjoy plenty of mule deer and cascading water. We stop for an hour to soak our feet, and rinse out our salty sweat coated shirts. It is a silly venture, because we have plenty more up today, but it feels awesome, if only for a while.
We find an early camp, set up, pump water, and cook. Tomorrow we will tackle Muir Pass.