I rose at 4:30 am this morning and backtracked five miles of trail through icy snow and two frigid creek crossings, up 2,000 feet, searching for my missing binoculars. No luck. Either another hiker picked them up, or… I don’t know. In any case my Leicas are gone, and I spent the rest of the day feeling heartbreakingly, wrenchingly devastated; besides being expensive, those binocs have traveled many places around my neck over the last 10 years, including the last 800 miles of trail. How could I have just left them sitting on a rock?
It was a bad start to a brutal day. I arrived back in camp at 7:30 am, having already put in a pointless 10 miles, and immediately hiked out with Goodness, Zm, Skipper, and Dane, who had all waited for me. Our mission today was Pinchot Pass, which involved a 3,500 foot climb to 12,000 feet. We quickly lost the trail under heavy snow and spent the rest of the day slogging and bushwhacking through a slushy, rotten mess, navigating with a GPS and sheer willpower; in the end, we took ten and a half hours to cover just 11 miles and arrived at the Kings River after sunset, thoroughly exhausted but happy to have made it through the day intact.