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Sierra Alive

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Day 5, Thursday, October 29: At one break Pat said "let's stand here and watch for the trail sign." As we stood resting I looked, and for a brief moment the wind stopped and the blowing snow ceased and I saw the trail sign. We were again exuberant, almost like spotting the yellow bucket. We knew once we got to the trail sign it would point us back on the path. With new hope and vigor we climbed to the light wood signpost ready to continue our journey home. The signpost clearly told us we'd made the first junction, maybe the second junction it was hard to tell from the map. But regardless three surfaces of the four sided signpost had locations with familiar names - Velma Lake, Dicks Lake and Bay View Trail. Here we were with an arrow pointing in the direction of our trail, Bay View and within thirty feet we couldn't tell if it pointed to the left or the right side of the boulders. We couldn't feel the trail with knee deep snow on top of it and it was difficult to follow what might look like winding openings of the path. Then we hit what seemed to be clear switch backs and walked another one eighth mile or so. It all stopped again. Was it a trail, or breaks in the rocks? Did it go up or around the ridge? We couldn't tell. Eventually we headed back towards the sign to see if we'd made an error. After five or six attempts to follow the trail we gave up. We couldn't see any of the mountain or landmarks the book described about the trail.
The snow and wind kept knocking us down. At times my backpack felt like a sail and the wind pushed me this way or that. We went back to the trivia and at that point Pat looked around and "Jocelyn, with the amount of snow and our little progress we need to make camp for the night." go to night

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