Less than two miles from his picking up the pace Buck was cursing himself. Rather than a brief flurry, soon over, the storm was intensifying and settling in for the long haul. It was becoming all to obvious that Buck just might be in trouble.
The cursing came from Buck as he realized he had broken the cardinal rule of hiking the Sierras: Be prepared! There are no constants. Seasons meant nothing to the mountains. Though it was late September and significant snowfall usually held off util November it was certainly no hard and fast rule. Rules of weather were only for talking heads on TV weather broadcasts and even they knew better than to bet against snow at 5500 feet. The added weight of a down jacket and, perhaps, waterproof pants was less than three pounds. For the lack of three pounds, Buck realized, he may quite well become a Popsicle. Frozen man on a stick for Felix, came to mind as he plodded onward.
The point he was approaching on the trail now was about one mile of uphill. The change of elevation was almost 600 feet. Easy enough for one in shape as Buck but the snow was accumulating fast and about three inches lie on the ground now and was starting to pile up.
Looking ahead he knew he would have to slow his pace or risk slipping. A slip here, he knew, could be fatal. Not so much from the fall but from possibly incapacitating injury; a broken bone or twisted joint should the fall be hard or awkward. He knew he had no choice other than to slow down out of caution and avoidance of such a mishap. Add to this, he was getting chilled. The sweat from hurrying was quickly affecting his heat retention and, though he hd put his parka on, it was of little help. It barely kept him from getting wet and had little to no effect keeping him warm. Cursing and shivering Buck took the incline.