Today would tell whether or not we would have a shot at reaching Sonora Pass in four days or if we would have to take a fifth morning to get in. We needed at least a 20 mile day today and then another big day tomorrow to leave under 20 miles for our fourth day to give us a chance.
Our goal was mile 978 where a couple of streams join together and head down the rest of the canyon we would be hiking in together. This meant we had to get up and over both Benson Pass and Seavey Pass today. While these passes stand at roughly 10,100 and 9,200 feet in elevation respectively that still meant a lot of dropping and climbing within the 20 miles for the day.
We were doing well on our goal and had reached Benson Pass just before lunch. We headed down from the pass for a bit and then stopped for lunch on some large boulders within the marshy muddy area we were hiking in. All the stagnant water and muddy ground meant we were battling mosquitos all day and our hope was that the rocks would provide some break from them. This hope was not realized. It got so bad that I finally broke out my bug net and ate lunch with that around my head. I continued wearing it for some time after we began hiking again after lunch.
After dropping from Benson Pass we set off on another climb up to Seavey Pass, which was just another 1,600 foot climb but on already tired legs. We reached the top right around 5pm and began to descend down into Kerrick Canyon. From the pass it was about 2.5 miles to reach our 20 mile selected spot, which took us just over an hour. The camp was a great spot, which helps morale when legs feel like jelly. We have streams to our north and east and Pie got a fire going in the fire ring to warm up during dinner. I didn’t longer long though as we are planning for about 21 miles tomorrow which includes another pass so I am writing this from my sleeping bag ready to get some much needed rest to be ready for that.