Bronwyn will remember the stupid grin I had while riding a scooter around Santorini, a sun drenched Greek island. Well the grin is back but this time it’s for the mountains, the snow, the trees and the bears.
Today we crossed the highest point on the PCT. Forrester Pass at 13,300ft. It was quite a slog just to get to the start of the climb, crossing good sized streams and my first proper snow walking experience. The path up the mountain is switchbacked like crazy and looks like a lot of effort moving all that rock just for a few hikers. The pass is known amongst PCTers for the dangerous snow chute right at the top but this year we’ve got it easy. The snow only covers one side of the trail so Tiki, Lucky Joe, Second Hand (formerly known as Mike) and I got to the top just exhausted and not petrified. We posed for photos, admired the incredible scenery and got cold so we set off down the north side. Lucky Joe was the first to try glissading, the art of sliding down the snow to save the effort of walking. We all had a go, some even two and down we went. Four merry explorers in the most awesome place I have ever seen. We did get one dodgy snow crossing, we all went very slowly over it. It was at least 45 degrees and a run out that would surely break legs or worse.
The walking got easier and the small snow melt streams became a big river as we got back below tree line. We even got to see a bear pretty close, like within 20m. Just standing there watching us watching him. Eventually he saunted off and we all felt a little better for enjoying nature at its finest.
The second climb of the day was a mean one and I was nearly beat. We’re east of Bullfrog Lake on our way out via Kearsarge Pass and the mountains and lakes are…and here I struggle to find a superlative great enough to explain this place. Magnificent, awe-inspiring, magestic, spectacular. All of the above I believe. I’ve taken a bzillion photos and hopefully Dad will have the time to upload a few of them in a week or so and link to them here.
[Well I managed to squeeze a few into this page. Walks With Son]
Tiki, Lucky Joe and I just cooked dinner, talked a little bit and retired to our tents. This has been one of the physically toughest and most rewarding days of the trail. Whoooohooo!
Distance today: 23.2 miles. Total distance: 790.7 miles
It’s 2:18am and we just had another bear encounter. I woke to hear rustle, then branches snapping, then knawing! Tiki and I got out with headlamps and rocks and I could just make out the shape of a bear trying to get into Tiki’s Ursack. We scared it off pretty easily and hung the bag a little higher.
More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Crabtree Meadows to IndependenceDistance today: 23.2 miles. Total distance: 788.5 miles