It is always a beautiful feeling waking up on the last full day before a town stop. A slight breeze kept mosquitoes at bay as we packed up and made our way through a patch of aspen and birch trees. We were starting the ascent towards Silver Pass, the last on trail pass before Mammoth, and we knew it would be another long ascent to the top.
All morning we criss crossed SOBO and a French Canadian couple named Watermelon and Bear Claw as we in turn navigated several river crossings. The snow was patchy among the valley and the pines and cedars stood broad trucked reaching high up into the sky all around us. On the way up we skirted past a waterfall whose spray soaked us to the bone, a seemingly common occurrence in this section. The trail continued up and up and up until we broke the snow line once more and began the long trudge through its slush creeping our way to the pass.
Though lower than most, Silver Pass consisted of the usual traits; exposed snow crossing at a gradual incline followed by a sudden steep cut for the last 100 or so ft. However, it also included a devilish false summit as you topped that steep climb. Off to the right the tracks went over yet another 100 ft climb marking the official Pass summit. Tired, unmotivated and hungry we finished the pass off, briefly scanned the horizon view and quickly farted down hill making the most of the three large glissades which ate up 2 miles in 20 minutes.
After a Lake side lunch we pressed on, still enveloped by snow, down through scattered trees and up and over several hills whose slopes were now patchy with snow. In an attempt to cut into the next days miles so that town would come sooner, we ignored potential spots and marched with fatigue in our eyes up and over the last of these hills before the descent to Mammoth Pass junction. It was largely a dry slope making for good hiking and skirted. Beautiful frozen lake in the centre of which a rock jutted out from the ice. One last up and over, and we were set up for camp in shallow valley alongside an alpine river.