Another fairly easy day of only 20 miles as we crossed Mather Pass, but it ended with a very funny and strange encounter with a determined deer. We started with a glorious clear day of sunshine as we began the climb up toward the pass itself.
At the top we paused to take in the beautiful view before heading down the steep other side, which is named the Golden Staircase.
The Golden Staircase descends from Mather Pass into a valley filled with lots of lovely meadows. As I said before, I try to walk the downhill portions, so I did that here with the staircase, then across the entire valley--and my quads definitely paid the price for it!
Then at the bottom of the staircase we could look back up at Mather Pass from the other side.
And the funny thing that happened that evening, as we were making camp, was the visit we had from a doe who was obsessed with the salt left behind from sweat on the lash cinch for Takoda's pack saddle. I caught her licking the cinch and even trying to eat it, and at first I just thought it was amusing--until she grabbed the cinch and ran off with it when I tried to shoo her away! She took off running with the cinch in her mouth, trailing about 40 feet of rope behind her, with me madly in pursuit. Thankfully the rope finally caught on a branch and she dropped it; I would have been in big trouble if she had managed to disappear with that cinch (or if she had damaged it with chewing) as that's what keeps the pack saddle in place on Takoda's back.