Distance hiked today: 21.4 miles / 34.4 km.
I thought I knew what strong wind was, until today. The most insanely strong wind assailed us as we walked along a ridge in the morning. It was terrifying, and I had to occasionally stop and brace myself against it, screaming, eyes watering so much from the air whipping them that I actually couldn't see. I walked with my body at almost a 45 degree angle to the left leaning into it, and it still pushed my backpack so it sat crooked on my back. My jacket hood whipped loudly in the wind and I could feel the wind burn on my cheeks. But the only way off the ridge was forward, and I forced my legs to keep going as fast as I could without tripping. (No pictures of that ridge because all four limbs were occupied keeping me upright.)
We still had to climb Carson Pass, and worried about crossing it in the wind. Luckily the trail up the mountain was at a slightly different angle, so the wind was still strong but not as insane. There were a couple snow traverses, and this time we put our spikes on. The wind kept the snow icy, and the consequences of falling here were more severe, where you'd gain speed on a long and steep icy slide before hitting rocks.
Glad to finally be heading down and into the trees, we passed the Carson Pass info center where they had a bin of snacks for hikers and a trail register. Someone else was also giving out snacks at the edge of the parking lot, a thru-hiker from 2019 who'd come back to pay it forward.
Along the way I found the perfect sitting tree, oddly twisted into a loop, and of course had to try it out. It did not disappoint.
We camped just 2.5 miles from the highway leading to town, slightly ahead of schedule, but we didn't want to pay for another night's hotel as we already plan to spend a couple nights. The clouds were dense and it looked like it might snow, so we made sure our tent wasn't in a drainage path, though it was tempting because it was nice and flat. The site we chose was super off level, so Colin spent his last night on trail contributing to make it better - digging out the dirt with our cat-hole trowel to flatten it while I made dinner, and we tucked in for a cold night.
Total trail mileage: 1088.5 miles / 1751.4 km