Guest writer Mushy here. I wooed my way into the Mental Snakes crew at Lone Pine using some good ol’ southern charm. These girls are awesome, and after leap-frogging a bit for the last 500 miles of desert, I knew that they were hands-down the best group to tackle the Sierra with. I spent nearly a week off-trail in San Francisco getting ready for the Sierra, so the night before we hit the trail I camped at Horseshoe Meadows to get re-acclimated to the elevation. We took it pretty easy on our first day out, pacing ourselves on the climb up and getting used to our new snow gear.
Five miles up trail we found a safe slope to practice self-arresting. We layered up, got out our ice axes, and started intentionally throwing ourselves down the hill. I started by sitting on my butt and sliding down, and then tried slipping, tripping, and falling backwards to simulate all types of emergency stops. After a month and a half of exclusively lower-body exercise, this was pretty hard on the arms. We called it quits after six or seven times each squealing down the slope and then huffing back up, feeling pretty confident that we could stop ourselves when needed, but also banking on adrenaline for superhuman strength and a quicker halt in case of a real emergency.
We had packed out a fun dinner for the first night, so after temperatures started to drop, we built a fire and feasted on hot dogs, Mac and cheese, toasted marshmallows, and an apple pie. How American! I felt right at home. We stashed our bear cans and went to bed early, prepared to wake up before sunrise for our first long day in the snow.
Meg here now, hello! Today has been a mixed bag of emotions. Nerves, excitement, anticipation. The lure of adventure pushes us forward into the unknown. So far, so good. We are feeling very lucky to be among such a supportive and fun group of people. One constant is that our plans and endeavours are forever changing. We are remaining flexible and adaptive, some new life lessons are being learnt everyday.