Day 52: Out Kearsarge Pass

**We just realized that the following post about our exit from the High Sierra was still in our drafts folder and was never posted.  Here’s our blast from the past!  Better late than never, right?**

June 8, 2017

Total miles: 6.4 miles

Start: 0.8 miles down Bullfrog Lake trail (off PCT mile 788.5)

End: Onion Valley Trailhead (off PCT mile 788.5)

Total elevation gain/loss: 1178.1/2612.2 ft

It’s town day! There’s always something a bit different when you’re heading into town. It hit me this morning even though I’m not actually that excited about going into town today. I think it’s the knowledge that you’ll be able to eat to your full later in the day now, so you can run closer to empty as you push toward town.

I dropped the tent and insisted that Michael turn around when I saw this sunrise. He thought I’d seen a bear.

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Day 59: It Gets Better

June 15, 2017

Total daily miles: 17.5 miles

Total PCT miles: 834.7 miles

Start: West Branch of Beartrap Creek (mile 1224.1)

End: mile 1241.6

Total elevation gain/loss: 3001.6/3971.1 ft

Finally a good hiking day!  It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve walked this far (or seen this much dry trail).  I’ll take it!

We awoke to a dry tent (score!) and another deer sighting.  This time the deers stayed further away, although I suspect that they invaded our camp site as soon as we’d walked off.

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June 13, 2017

Total daily miles: 11.2 miles

Total PCT miles: 806.7 miles

Start: mile 1202.4

End: mile 1213.6

Total elevation gain/loss: 1605.3/1683.7 ft

We awoke to clear skies and frozen condensation in our tent.  Also a puddle in the downhill corner.  I guess that’s what two wet nights get us.  Putting our tent away was a real chore given the cold morning temperatures — both of us ended up with freezing cold fingers that we had to warm up before setting out.

The PCT trail sign barely peeking above the snow line.

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Day 57: Slow Going in Soft Snow

Day 56: Winter Wonderland Out Of Sierra City (Or Not)

June 12, 2017

Total daily miles: 7.0 miles

Total PCT miles: 795.5 miles

Start: Sierra City (mile 1195.4)

End: mile 1202.4

Total elevation gain/loss: 2788.7/436.7 ft

Today’s a great example of the PCT showing who’s boss. Short answer: the PCT.

For the first time in the PCT, I slept through our alarm this morning. My guess is that it’s because I still had the headphones plugged into my phone and so it didn’t vibrate. Even after realizing what had happened, we continued to snooze until 6am. It’s hard to be motivated to get out of the tent when we can hear raindrops dripping onto our tent. It had been raining lightly off and on all night.

Finally we bit the bullet and packed up our stuff. Last night’s weather report showed rain until 4pm today, so waiting wasn’t going to help anything (and we didn’t want to take another zero). Turns out that the raindrops were mainly from the tree that we were camped beneath, outside we were greeted by a heavy fog.

The PCT passes about a mile and a half from Sierra City, so we started heading up the road. Not long after, a truck pulled over and asked if we’d like a ride to the trailhead. Yes, we’d love one! Our ride was from a former PCT thru-hiker and he gave us the scope on what to expect in the coming sections.

We could see the snow from the trailhead…

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Day 55: Hitching to Sierra City

June 11, 2017

Considering how little experience we had with hitchhiking prior to starting the PCT, today’s goal was a big one: hitchhike over 400 miles from Bishop to Sierra City.

After breakfast, we headed to the north end of town and stuck out our thumbs. Lots of cars passed. Michael got to work on making our Tyvek ground sheet into a sign that read “PCT Hikers” in the hope that would attract more interest. Before he could finish the sign, a woman pulled over and we had our first ride! She was only going to Mammoth, but that would at least get us going.

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Days 53 & 54: Decision Time

Our plan to spend a single zero in Bishop morphed into two zeros. I guess we should know by now that the PCT doesn’t care about your plans. Like our plan to continue back up from Kearsarge Pass to Mammoth.  

As I mentioned before, the reports of the stream crossings in that section are not encouraging. In fact, they’re downright scary. Even worse are the reports of the crossings north of Tuolumne. It’s likely that water levels will only rise in the next couple of weeks. After a couple days of cool weather coming up (including more snow…), it looks like things will be significantly warming up. That’s great for getting rid of the high snow levels, but not so good for stream crossings.

Baked goods from Schat’s Bakery obviously were necessary in our decisionmaking process.

Except it meant that we had to decide what to get 😦

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