Cottonwood Pass, August 20, 2019, 6 Miles RT, 837' +/-, Max Elevation 11,000'

We didn’t really have a plan for our second day in the Eastern Sierra, but I did some quick research after we got back from Big Pine Lakes and decided upon the Cottonwood Pass Trail out of Horseshoe Meadow. Horseshoe Meadow is only about a 30 minute drive from Lone Pine where we were staying. Our plan was to hike up to the pass and then over to Chicken Spring Lake, but when we got started my husband was a lot more tired than usual. I think he may have been feeling the altitude (over 10,000’) and also a little lack of sleep the night before. The hike started out fairly flat winding in and out of tall pine trees until we got to the rocky switchbacks where we started to climb up and up. We passed through incredible alpine meadows covered with wildflowers and under the shade of towering foxtail and lodgepole pines. We were just short of the pass when my husband decided it was time to turn around. It’s really odd for him to be affected by altitude because he’s usually fine, but it just goes to show you altitude does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone on any given day without warning and when that happens, the best thing to do is descend. I would have loved to continue on, but we are a team and so I had no problems turning back and doing the hike again on another day when we could both enjoy it.