mile 760 – 774.7
Hi everyone! I added a Care Packages tab to the menu. There, you can find out how to send me care packages and letters. Thank you!!!
I didn’t make it as far as I wanted today. I’ve been so concerned about the upcoming mountain passes that I completely forgot about the river fords.
Sita and I started the day with a river crossing. We found logs to cross on, thankfully, so we didn’t have to get wet when we were already cold. We did have to do a bit of bushwacking to get from the crossing back to the trail.
After the crossing we had a steep uphill and a steep downhill. At the bottom of the downhill we reached the Mount Whitney junction. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain peak in the contiguous states and most people hiking the PCT take a side trip to climb it- seven miles up, seven back. I had planned to do this, but I know Hunter wants to climb it one day and I’d like to do it with him. Plus, I don’t think I packed enough food. Plus, if I make it to Independence by Friday morning, then I have a good chance at finishing up another three day section before Hunter gets here. Plus, like I’ve said before, I’m not a peak bagger.
The first one was a breeze. Just a creek. I popped off my shoes and waded through.
The second one was a little more involved. I decided to take off my socks and take out my insoles and go through in my shoes. The current was strong, but someone had strung up a rope and I held tight to that and made it across without incident.
The third crossing was at the end of the day. It was already close to 6:00. The river looked like rapids after rapids after rapids. Some guys I had been hiking near even scoffed. We walked up and down the river looking for an easier way for about half an hour. Then some young German guys walked up and started preparing to cross. I thought that if they could do it with no problem, then I would do it, too. They went across without even blinking an eye! I prepared my bag for crossing, making sure everything I wanted to stay dry was in a waterproof bag of some sort. Mark, one of the guys I had been leapfrogging with today went across without incident, as well. I put on my pack, making sure to leave the waist and chest straps unbuckled, and stood at the water’s edge for a moment. Then I plunged across! The current was strong and I had to fight to keep my footing, but I made it!
At close to 7:00 and with wet, cold feet I decided to set up camp. It was already getting colder and we were at 11,000 feet. This makes me a little nervous, because we have another five miles to climb up to the pass in the morning and then a long, steep descent in the snow, but there are about 8 other people camped here, so I know there will be other people nearby.
I decided to cowboy camp because it’s so much easier to get going in the morning when I don’t have to coerce myself out of my tent. I ate a quick dinner of trail mix, separated my food for tomorrow, put all my food in my bear can inside the provided bear box here, then took off my wet shoes and got into my sleep clothes. Actually, I’m wearing pretty much all my clothes tonight. It’s going to be cold anyway, and this way I can just jump up and not have to change clothes in the cold morning. It’s already going to be a bitch putting on cold, wet, possibly frozen shoes.
I was just lying here typing all of this when I noticed that everything had turned slightly pink. I turned around and caught one of the top three sunsets I’ve ever seen! Wow! The entire western sky lit up in bright pinks and purples against almost blue mountains. The mountains look tiny next to the big sky!
Better get some sleep. I’m shooting for an early morning. Unfortunately, I’ve eaten all my pop tarts and have nothing delicious with which to lure myself from my sleeping bag. Well, I guess I could use the thought of a phone call or a text to Hunter. I think I might get some service at Forester Pass. I hope!
Today I met Renee and Mark. They are both section hiking. I think they just met a few days ago.
Today I learned how to ford scary rivers!
Today’s hike was powered by the new and unexpected.
On a personal note: Tyler, if you’re still out there reading, I should reach VVR around Saturday, June 25. Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure- could be a day earlier or later. All the best!