Monday 12th August 2013

Wallace Creek to Guitar Lake – 8 miles

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We were true to our word and even I, traditionally an early riser, enjoyed the promised lie in. Luke still managed to stay in bed nearly an hour longer than us waiting until the second brew was ready before surfacing from his tent. We had a lazy break down of camp and eventually got going at 9.30am, two hours later than our normal departure time.

The late start was of no consequence as it looked to be a fairly non-eventful walk with only relatively small fluctuations in gradient finishing about eight miles away at Guitar Lake. The plan was to get there by early afternoon giving us plenty of time to relax and prepare for the early start and tough last day ahead. The day turned out to be exactly that as a soft sandy path took us up and down some gentle hills before turning east off the conjoined Pacific Crest Trail for the final few miles.

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We stopped at a peaceful lake with just two miles left to have our last lunch, made up from some cous cous given to us by ‘Canada’ back at V.V.R and some tuna found in a bear box a couple of days back. Our bear canisters were now noticeably lighter as they contained more rubbish than food. The last couple of miles didn’t take long and we had set up camp close to the edge of Guitar Lake by 2.30pm with the 14,495ft finish line looming above us.

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The sun was beating down so I couldn’t resist the opportunity of winning the man vs. lake award by stripping down and plunging into the freezing 11,500ft high lake, the highest (and coldest) any of us had dared to swim in on this trip. The afternoon was then spent soaking up the rays and reading whilst looking up at the enormous vertical wall. We wondered and discussed how and where the path went up and how the hell we would manage to do it in the pitch black early hours of tomorrow morning. Some of our anxieties were put to rest by a passing Ranger who we grilled for information about the final ascent, the long steep walk off and the ride to Lone Pine afterwards.

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As it was the last supper, we had saved the second acquired Mountain House meal meaning we had a whole meal each for the first time on the trail. After dinner we set about repacking everything and setting out all we needed to break down of camp at 2.30am as quick and easy as possible. The final job before our early night was to dress Luke’s feet ready for the early start, thankfully this would be the last time! AB

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