Distance hiked today: 22.2 miles / 35.7 km.
Luckily it didn't rain last night but nothing really dried out either. It was a boggy walk, jumping from one tiny raised clump of dirt to the next. The trick is to pick a spot where only the sole of your shoe will sink in, not deep enough to reach the mesh and actually get wet. But sometimes the ground is a lot mushier than it looks, so you gotta have fast feet!
We crossed Dorothy Lake Pass at 9,526 ft, followed by a few river crossings. I took my shoes off for the first one, but had to keep them on for the second which was deep and involved underwater rock hopping. I spent all morning hopping around the meadows to keep my feet dry only to walk through a river… uhg. But we wore our waterproof Sealskinz socks, so although my shoes were wet my feet stayed dry.
We passed the 1,000 mile marker - exciting!
After lunch we headed up Sonora Pass. Our timing is perfect - one day earlier and we would have hit the hail storm at the summit. It was still very windy, and we took a more direct and steeper trail up to avoid most of the snow, but still ended up climbing almost straight up an icy snowbank at the end. It seemed not bad until I got partway up and it got really slippery, but by then I was committed and mid-slope so I couldn't put my spikes on.
It felt like we were on the moon, the top of the mountain being mostly barren and dark rock. While it's not the most "beautiful" pass, I think it's the "coolest" one. The ridge went on and on instead of the usual up-down off the passes. Near the highest point were patches of bushes with tent sites inside, incredibly protected from the wind. You had to push through the branches and then it opened up to small flat spots nestled in there. We set up camp, and had to eat dinner inside to stay warm as the temperature was dropping quickly with the sun.
The wind died off completely, and we might as well have camped on the exposed ridge. We've been spoiled by windless nights the whole time in the Sierra - not even a breeze.
Total trail mileage: 1010.8 miles / 1626.4 km