So last weekend I headed up to Grant Lake, up the 10 Lakes trail. It was a zoo @ permits that Friday morning, and by the time I got to head of line, that's what was left. I took it.
Now, most of you have done this trail plenty of times, so I won't go into much detail. The good news is that my calf muscle held up fine, and did not even get sore, despite the off-camberness of the slabs part of the trail and the steep switchbacks climbing up towards Ten Lakes Pass -- the attachment between tendon and muscle seems to be working fine. The bad news is that conditioning at sea level is not the same as at altitude, so I had to take things nice and easy anyhow. I did discover that my feet have grown over the past few years, rendering my boots more a torture device than a means of keeping feet off rock, something I hadn't noticed because all my hiking since starting recovery was in sandals or trail runners. More on that later.
It was pretty hot on the slabs part with the sun beating down on me, but at least that kept the mosquitos away. Once I started towards Half Moon Meadow the mosquitos started coming out in force, until they were so thick when I got to the meadow that I had a hard time stopping to take photos because they were so thick. And while I was literally reeking of DEET, I think these mosquitos must be mutants or something, because the next day I had welts where they bit me (I'm allergic to mosquito bites).
I saw and photographed a marmot on the switchbacks to where the Grant Lakes trail hits the Ten Lakes trail. The meadow at the top where you head towards Grant Lakes was wet and muddy, it was late afternoon by this time so snowmelt was flooding it pretty well and the trail could be hard to follow at times (when I crossed it the next morning, there was *much* less water on it, though it was still muddy). There were occasional patches of snow on the trail once you started descending towards the lake. All in all I was glad I was wearing my boots rather than the sandals or trail runners I've been wearing on my day hikes at sea level. Except when I got down to the lake, then moved back up to a place I could camp, and took my boots and socks off I found that the cramped quarters had really bummed up my feet.
Next day I headed back out rather than continuing to Ten Lakes because it was clear that my boots weren't doing the job. So yesterday I got a new pair of Lowas one size up at REI, and am about to go check'em out by hiking around the Marin headlands. Thanks for all who gave advice, even if I did not follow any of it , and hopefully next weekend I'll be out again!
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