Hiking with Holly

Backpacking Mammoth 2015: Day 5

Duck and Pika Lakes to Duck PassTrailhead

Miles: 6

197
Sunrise over Duck Lake.
201
Sunrise through the trees.

Wow!  It was a cold night that has turned into a very chilly morning.  We are guessing it is in the 30’s.  We have all our warm gear on and have to drape my sleeping bag over us while we have our coffee.  Brrrr!  We seem to have a bit of a spring to our step this morning and I think it is because we know we will be eating burgers and fries before the day is over.

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Warming up under the sleeping bag.

Chores are done and gear backed up by 8:15.  We were dreading the climb back up from the lake, but with rested legs and the hope of burgers, it is much easier than we are anticipating.  Our last climb is the highest at 10,900 ft.  Most of our climbing was yesterday, so not much more to go to get up and over this pass.

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Beautiful day at Duck Lake.
206
Sign to Pika Lake at the Duck Pass junction.
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Going over Duck Pass.
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Switchbacks at Duck Pass.

Somewhere along the way, we start running into day hikers.  A very nice lady stops us to talk.  We share with her what day we were on and where we had been.  I tell her how we hiked from Lake Victoria the day before and she has a puzzled look on her face.  She can’t figure out where that is.  I try to explain, but it is just not adding up to her.  She wishes us well and we move on.  Down, down we go on very rocky, steep switchbacks.  More and more people are coming up and I am starting to feel self-conscience about how bad I smell.  Everyone we pass smells really good.  Their clean smells are almost overwhelming to me. Whenever possible, I stop and let them go by.  I do not want to walk by others and create a wind that could possibly knock them over from the stench.  Being way out with other backpackers, it never bothered me.  We all smelled bad, so it didn’t matter.  The craziest thing was that Gannon did not smell bad to me and I did not to him.  How is it possible that we stunk to ourselves, but thought the other one smelled just fine?  Soo weird! The Lord works in mysterious ways.

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Our first look at Barney Lake.
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Barney Lake.

We pass Barney Lake and decide that we are just going to push through, eat snacks as we walk, and not take a lunch break today.  That will get us back 30 minutes earlier.  Since we are basically going downhill, we are already making good time.  I’m best on downhill and flat, so I can cruise along at a good clip.  We occasionally get stopped to talk with other day hikers.  They are all nice and we laugh about how good a burger and fries will taste!  That seems to be all that is on my mind…..except I am starting to feel a little sad that this is almost over.  It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done, but now I do not want it to end.   With every step I take, I have such mixed feelings.  I am really looking forward to a shower and fresh food, but I also loved my experiences out here and the incredible bond that was created between Gannon and me.  I’m holding it together pretty well and we quickly get these last miles done.

217
Duck Pass Trailhead at Coldwater Creek.

We are at the trailhead.  I can’t believe it!  We did it!  Gannon is already telling me to call Cheryl (my friend who graciously agreed to pick us up) and let her know we’re ready.  Soo many feelings and emotions are swirling around in my head, but I place the call to her.  The moment she picks up the phone, I turn into a crying mess.  I’m trying to tell her we are done and ready for pick-up, but it’s just soo hard to talk.  The tears are streaming down my face.  Gannon is worried and wants to know what is wrong.  I am trying to explain that they are happy tears.  We just accomplished something that we have been training for and planning, for the past 7 months.  We did it in bad weather.  We changed our route mid-way.  We were wet.  We were cold.  We were tired.  We were in awe of God’s majesty.  We saw and experienced things that most will never see and we did it together!  I look down at the bracelet that I have worn since Mother’s Day and realized that it finally came to be… “She believed she could so she did”.  While others might have doubted my ability to not shower for days and having to poop in the woods, I never did.  I enjoyed everything about being out in the untamed wild.

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We made it!

Cheryl arrives, takes our photo and drives us back to the condo (with the windows rolled down).   We are showered and ready to go eat in less than 30 minutes!  How glorious fresh food tastes after eating dehydrated food for 5 days.

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Burger, fries, and a yummy salad!

Gannon finally decides to tell me that when we were talking to that lady on the trail and I was mentioning Lake Victoria, the reason why she looked soo puzzled was because it’s not Lake Victoria, it’s Lake Virginia.  What?  I really said Lake Victoria?  I thought I was saying Lake Virginia.  No wonder.  Aaahhhh!!!   Why did he not say something when we were talking to her? He tells me that he did not want to say anything in front of her, because he was now second guessing what it was.  Really?  Darn him and his name games!  He succeeded in getting me to say the wrong name after all.

Oh, what a great adventure we had!

Onto planning the next one.

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