Elba Lake to Lake Italy
For some strange reason, Kevin and I had been discussing a theory that one reason we have become an obese society is that we no longer allow ourselves to be cold. Well last night we did our best to bring down the weight average, because we froze all night.
We wake as if in little snow globes. When we touch the side of our tents, flakes of frozen dew and condensation fall onto our sleeping bags. We pack up frozen, knowing as we hike it will melt into a wet mess. We wear most of the clothes we have, including useless and freezing gloves. Alas, we press on down through a thick forest, towards the sound of a cascading falls. By the time we reach it, we are overheating and have to strip. It is amazing what a difference a half hour makes.
We work down to a little used trail going up to Merriam Lake, which both Roper and Andrew Skurka describe as a steep trail. They are right about steep, but I think fall line is more accurate than trail. We are rewarded for our effort with three bucks. After smelling us, however, they wander off.
We work our way by a few lakes, including La Salle, before facing our primary task: Feather Pass. Roper’s descriptions often frustrate me. “Ascend a headwall via an obvious cleft” causes a fair amount of discussion, but little agreement on exactly what it means. We stare at a jumble of rocks and cliffs. We push on, unclear.
After reaching the top, we are further enlightened with “Careful routefinding in this short section pays off; otherwise you may encounter a few class 3 dropoffs.” I am pretty sure that sentence can be randomly inserted into any paragraph in his book, to the same effect.
The boulder fields seem to go on forever. We eventually work our way through Bear Paw and Ursa lakes.
At a rest, I realize my SPOT tracking device is no longer attached to my pack. I had double strapped the SPOTs carabiner to different parts of my pack in case one ripped. The carabiner is still securely attached, but not the SPOT. We of course have no idea when it came off, nor where it is now. Ironically, my wife and parents know exactly where it is, and probably assume I am still attached to it. I hope they realize since we did not press the emergency button, we are fine, but we have no way to tell them.
We come upon two hikers, Eric and Jorge, who will be back in civilization (cell phone range) by tomorrow night. I give them Terri’s cell number and my Dad’s home number with instructions to tell them the SPOT fell off, but Kevin and Rick are fine.
We press on, full of guilt, but with no ability to do anything about it. After White Bear Pass, we push on to Lake Italy, a lake Roper describes as ugly. Kevin and I think it is just fine. If Roper wants to see real ugly, he should join me when I try to explain to my wife how I lost the SPOT.