I again felt the call of nature around 2 am and saw one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Looking up at the sky, I could see a sea of stars twinkling in the sky. I stood there for a solid five minutes, looking up at the majesty of it. After doing what I got out of my sleeping bag to do, I went back to sleep.
I awoke again at 5:30, this time to the sound of my alarm. I liked cowboy camping. It made packing up so much easier and took about 10 minutes less to get everything ready to hike. Oliver and I hit the trail. Today's hike was fairly uneventful. We made good time having to deal with less snow than what we had typically been dealing with on our hikes. There were many ups and downs through patches of snow.
Without a hip belt, my pack was becoming less and less uncomfortable as it got lighter through eating food. The best way of cutting weight from your pack is to eat what is in it.
I listen to audiobooks in the afternoon while I hike. I am currently finishing the book, "Panzer Commander" by Hans Von Luck. It is about Von Luck's life, his service in World War 2 as a tank commander, and then his time as a POW in a Russian camp. I found the book extremely interesting. It was fascinating to listen to, and I highly recommend it.
Around 4 pm, we had hiked 25 miles, which was the goal for the day. We were near a lake and decided to take 30 minutes to go for a swim, and then we hiked until 6 pm. It was freezing like the previous lake as I jumped in, but instead of getting out right away, I swam around a bit. Oliver enjoyed the cold water as well. It was the first time I rinsed off, since before resupplying in Mammoth. After taking some time to dry in the sun, we got back to hiking.
The last hour found us joining the Tahoe Rim Trail and on the edge of a large meadow. Just before stopping for the evening, we had to cross a stream. We both got our feet wet for the first time today. We managed to keep our feet relatively dry for most the remainder of the day only getting them slightly damp from the snow.
Once we stopped to camp, we quickly set up, ate dinner, and went to bed due to the massive amount of mosquitoes swarming any exposed flesh. Oliver cowboy camped even with the bugs.