Mile: 1017.8 to 1034.2
up/down: 3500/4000 feet
New Alpine county birds: Ruby- crowned Kinglet, Golden- crowned Kinglet, Golden Eagle, Pine Sisken, and Nashville Warbler.
We need to make miles. Fourth of July weekend is coming and we want to be long gone from South Lake Tahoe before then. We planned 4 days for this section and that is how much food we have. Nobody told the trail about our plans. As we move farther north the snow level for melt out continues to drop and the remnants are much deeper. Our 16+ miles for today were hard earned.
We left our camp a short distance up trail from Sonora Pass early and started the big climb back to the crest. We topped out a little above 10500, the last time we will be above 10000 on the trip. It got cold last night so the snow we encountered on the way up was icy. After a traverse into the east side of the crest we crested one more time over an unnamed pass into the East Carson River. It took quite a while to pick our way down to below snowline. Once there the miles came easier.
After about 5 miles in the canyon we climbed out and traveled the top edge for a few more miles. The views improved considerably once we were out of the canyon bottom.
Another big climb took us up to the side of Boulder Peak and a small meadow and lakes basin. We passed what I think is called a volcanic plug which was neat. This high elevation meadow complex is just melting out and is quite wet. We managed to find a dry spot away from the wet grass and snow.
I haven't mentioned this yet because I was afraid to jinx it - we've been extremely fortunate with mosquitos thus far. Northern Yosemite is well known for its epic clouds of skeeters during PCT season. We went through relatively unscathed. We had one evening where we had to hide in the tent at dusk but otherwise no issues. We used very little repellent during the day. Going through so soon after snow melt has been good on that account. I know there will be plenty of skeeters ahead but to get this far without giving a pint of blood is pretty amazing.