Day 64: Halfway to Canada! (Sort Of)

June 20, 2017

Total daily miles: 18.4 miles

Total PCT miles: 921.9 miles

Start: Robbers Spring (mile 1310.7)

End: Chester (mile 1328.8)

Total elevation gain/loss: 2705.1/3753.3 ft

We woke up at 4:30 again this morning even though we only had about 18 miles to get to town. We knew that there were another few miles of snow and we wanted to get to it while it was still crunchy. The climb up from the spring seemed like a steep way to start our day, but soon we were cruising.

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Day 63: Over the Rivers and Through the Woods

June 19, 2017

Total daily miles: 20.8 miles

Total PCT miles: 903.8 miles

Start: William’s Cabin site (mile 1290.2)

End: Robbers Spring (mile 1310.7)

Total elevation gain/loss: 5144.4/2637.5 ft

We made it out of camp before Matt this morning. He thought we’d hit the snooze button (we get ready in the dark) and decided to snooze a bit longer himself. We headed out, knowing that he’d catch up quickly (and we were right!).

This morning’s climb featured a bunch of creek crossings. Even the so-called “seasonal creeks” presented a challenge. There’s lots of water out there! There were a couple of crossings that we thought would get us wet, but we managed to find logs to keep our feet dry. Even if the crossings had been wet crossings, they all looked very calm and doable. Of course, my feet still ended up a bit wet on some of the smaller crossings where I just missed jumping across. Go figure.

We had to climb over the huge root structure on this log, but otherwise it was an easy crossing.

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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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Day 57: Slow Going in Soft Snow

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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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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Day 51: Ice Chute Challenge

June 7, 2017

Total miles: 13.6 miles

Start: mile 775.7

End: 0.8 miles down Bullfrog Lake trail (mile 788.5)

Total elevation gain/loss: 2948.2/3695.2 ft

Today was the day — we’d be crossing Forrester Pass!  People have been talking about this moment for weeks now and we’d soon have it (hopefully) behind us!

I slept surprisingly well last night given my anticipation about today’s climb. A win for Advil PM! We were up and ready to hike at 4am sharp. Sam and Tam needed a few more minutes, so we set off across the ice field knowing that they would catch up before the pass.  

Navigating in the dark on a sun-cup filled ice field turned out to be a little trickier than I imagined. After a while we found ourselves a bit off trail. Luckily, course correction wasn’t difficult and we were on our way again.  

As expected, Sam and Tam caught up with us just as the morning light was making our headlamps unnecessary. The progression of the morning light on the surrounding mountains was riveting:

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