Miles 951.1 – 967.5
July 13th, 2017
For lunch we stopped at Miller Lake at mile 959.8, which sits at an elevation of 9,470 feet. This particular lake was named in 1894 by Lieutenant N.F. McClure for one of the soldiers in his detachment, he must’ve been quite the badass. Reading this little tidbit, as well as many others about the history of the Sierra and all of those who have passed through before me many, many years ago is so fascinating to me. They didn’t have all this top-of-the-line “ultra-light” gear, they were more than likely carrying over a hundred pounds on their back and wearing fifteen pounds of clothes; true mountaineers and the ultimate pioneers of this great land. Miller Lake was somethin’ else though, it had a perfect sandy beach just past the edge of the fescue grass, you could walk out into the water on a sandbar for roughly twenty feet before you would drop off the shelf into the deeps. The water was cold, but that didn’t stop us from taking a midday swim to cool down in the hot High Sierra sun. We also gave Dixie’s collapsible Tenkara fly rod a shot, but the fish weren’t having any of what we were serving up.
For a while now the group had been going back and forth about how many miles we all should be doing each day, and at times the conversation would be an unfavorable one. The majority of the group was extremely worried that we might not be doing enough each day in order to finish in Canada by late September, myself included, but there was one person in our group that didn’t seem too concerned about it, Pistons. He had a flight out of LAX late September back to his home of Australia, so to me this deadline of his should make him most concerned about finishing on time. I was starting to get very frustrated with him at times, when it would constantly be him at the end of each day trying to persuade the group to stop at a campsite when there was more than an hour left of sunlight. It was beginning to fester inside of me, and I was starting to think that I would soon need to break free from the group if this were to continue. This was the last thing I wanted to do, for this group had become my family and the thought of pushing on past without them was a sad thought . . but I knew that there was a good possibility of this needing to happen. I was a thousand percent dedicated to making it to Canada before heavy snowfall whilst keeping my continuous path, even if it meant hiking by myself for the remainder of the trail.
That evening we made it to a really nice flat spot a few miles north of Benson Pass, down on the edge of a cliff that overlooked the valley below, but we were short by just one mile on the agreed upon mileage for each day. We figured that we needed to do AT LEAST twenty miles each day throughout the rest of the Sierra, and once we got north of Lake Tahoe we would have to pick it up closer to an average of thirty miles per day.