Monday, May 15 — day 50

PCT miles 719.18 to 730.00

It was a chilly morning, but I was still excited about being so close to my goal! As I hiked further up trail I started finding more and more snow.  
And the streams have cool ice sculptures 

The weather report I pulled from my satellite texting system said there was a 60% chance of rain this morning. The clouds continued to build as I hiked, but it was great to be hiking in the Sierras!

At this higher elevation the forest consists of Foxtail and Lodgepole Pines – here are their cones:

When I reached Big Dry Meadow in the ominously named Death Canyon I started seeing snow flurries and decided the storm was here to stay and that was I should stop for the day. As I worked on setting up my tent the snowfall intensified. I laid out the footprint and before I could lay out the tent base it was covered in a fine layer of snow. Same thing before I could get the poles attached and rain fly in place. I stuffed my pack into the vestibule, climbed in (trying to carry in as little snow as I can). I changed into my long wool top and bottom and into my sleeping bag because pretty much the only way I fit in my tent is laying down. It was only 2 pm and I was worrying about how sore my body might become and how stir crazy I may grow by lying down for the next 18 hours.

After just an hour or so I peeked outside the tent and saw how transformed the landscape has become

I obtained another weather report and confirmed that the snowstorm should abate overnight. I received texts from my wife Liz, with input from Steve Schaniel, suggesting alternate exit options out of the Sierras should I need them. I have maps and GPS waypoints to get me to Trail Pass/Cottonwood Pass, 14 miles to the north, or 25 miles back to Kennedy Meadows to the south. The alternate exits are back the way I came and then East over trails that are buried in snow. I saw no trace of them as I walked to here. Going back also means going to higher elevation. I decided to wait for the morning’s weather report…

To my delight I found I was able to sleep for a long time without pain or anxiety.
Thanks for reading!

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