Im scrabbling and wriggling . Its 6am and cold , i have to work fast as my fingers are going to go numb . Im getting out of my sleeping bag and am almost ready to face the day ahead . Flipping heck its cold.My hiking boots froze solid as rock last night . Hitting them with a rock wont help , i mean totaly solid .
We eat breakfast , and talk about water stops on the way to Forester . Breakfast is quiet and quick . We both know we need to get walking to warm a little .
The morning is amazing , the sun brings a brightness and clarity that is dazzling . Crisp blues are punctuated with the white clouds . And soon we are fording our first river crossing of the day . Springing over ice cold river flow is a great way to greet the day . Even better to share it . Elated and light hearted on the other side of the river we give each othet action replays in slow motion of our leaps .
We are a few miles from Forester Pass and we are crossing the most anazing snow field .
The mounatins all around us are humbling , they close us in their embrace . Its like we are being drawn into the navel of the earth . Spiraling into the center , turning towards the source .
The distances are epic . The scale is unpresendented . The Gummy bears are delicious . (Like jelly babys , but not as nice ) . ( im so glad wing it came prepared)
We walk on into the raw morning , where ozone is thin and the only footprints are our own .
Wing it is smiling a lot . This makes me smile too .
I think about purity here . Simplicity . Spirit . Part of me echoes the land today . My soul knows its partner , it is mirrored right here in the land . Im belittled by this reflection . This grandness , this epic nature that belongs inside the human being . That we contain only when we are in its presence . Amongst the whistle of the wind , the warmth of a new dawn or the sudden joy of a bird song in this wild , harsh , beautiful place . In its presence , it somehow comes inside of me . I resonate at its frequency and it allows me to know its heart beat .
We trudge on , boots squeeking through pure snow . One step at a time lad . One step at a time .
We pass Aqua marine freeze topped lakes , glacial famiy of the architects that master planned these peaks . Here , everything is pure , ice , like fire , is a great cleanser .
We come within sight of Foresters Pass . Its inspiring and belittling.Steep too !!
I get on my micro spikes and we are kicking steps into the ice as we climb ridiculous degrees of slope . Everything is thrown into focus . Sharpness and clarity. Zen moments flash with pure bright being on the path . The path has disapeared and I am the path . Mind is nowhere , here and everywhere . I breath steady and keep rising .
Wing it crosses the pass first and we are silent in an awe and respect of this place .
I follow along the narrow ridge and we meet on the other side to negotiate the final section . Which is quite honestly hair raising .
Moments later euphoria rules . Adrenalin and gratitude flood through me on a wave of deliverance . We yell our joy . Hug . Fist bump .
Its a long steep post holing path down the other side . The hardest work of the day is still ahead of us .
It seems impossible but the path becomes more beautiful still. The pathway also becomes much harder to negotiate . I post hole time after time after time . I start to get tired , frustrated and , after some time angry . I bend my hiking pole i come down so hard and fast on it . I flay about like an upturned turtle , slippling and cursing . I can see Wing it has a struggle of his own going on . The pass is taking its payment .
Walk on . Walk on .
So we do , winding our way through a labrynth of snow banks and fir trees , snow melt and missleading footprints . Negotiating with GPS and common sense we pick our path out, all the way to Kiersarge Pass . We tackle a long set of switch backs that delivers us into high blue heavens . The ranges around us our full of granduer and manna. They talk of time and attrition , evolution and scale . They are like a pantheon of demi gods , huddled together discussing their favourate memorys of the big-bang ! I feel my mind having to recalibrate to accomodate these immense deitys.
As we make the final switchback ,and come to Bullfrog lake ,swirls of large wet snow start to flurry around us . I tell Wing it that I feel we have walked into Narnia . Everything is white , and the light is cloud filterd to a steel grey dull sheen. I can feel a pressure begin . Wordless we both know it would be best to clear this valley , out of this weather , into the safety of Independance . We were planning on a camp about now , but know that this is no longer a good option .
The snow gets thicker . Covering tracks , we continue to slide and post hole , loosing the track and wrestling with hunger and fatigue . The wind picks up and the snow stars to come in sideways . Several miles pass . A deep booming growl echoes around us . OK so now we have thunder too!
We see tracks of deer, bobcats and cayote . Sometimes they seem to know the trail better than our GPS apps .
As we begin our decent we see a mysterious silhouette on the crest of the ridge behind us . Slowly the stranger reveals themself to be Gilligan . We spend a brief moment connecting and them totally demolish the last few miles of our walk in .
Gilligan tells us that today he feels he has been on a wildreness school adventure . I know what he means . I have been learning all day , in the best classroom of all .
Later at the trailhead carpark Bill the local ranger gives us a ride into town . He drops us at the local motel , we get hot showers and wander around in a kind of daze .
Im grateful for the lessons , the insperation and all of things that nature has nurtured me with today . But most of all Im grateful to my hiking bro ,Wing-it . He offerd me humour , concern , support and jelly teddys today . That stuff is just pricless . I tell him . Its cool .