Day 167 (Oct. 4): Mile 1,016.9 – 998.3

Playing Around at the High Elevations

Beginning Elevation = 9,650
Ending Elevation = 9,250
Elevation Range = 8,600 – 10,850
Weather:. Sunny and clear, high 60°F

Around 5:30am, my room was instantly full of light. Not early morning sunrise light, but rather bright florescent bulb light. Apparently, last night we hadn’t turned off the switch. The generator was turned off which must power our dorm lighting. And so, this morning when the generator was fired up, boom, there came our lights too. It took me a while before getting up to turn the lights off and I sorta slept a little longer, but around 6:15am gave up and went down for breakfast.

The FT’s (that’s french toast for those not hip with the lingo) were tasty. Afterwards, I walked the 15 feet over to the store and gathered my food for the next stretch. I’d taken extra from South Lake Tahoe, so was in good shape, but I was surprised and pleased too that they had a pretty great selection. The lady running the place was very welcoming and helpful too.

After organizing and packing and saying goodbye to Fritter, I was ready to go. Kennedy Meadows north had been a short, but much needed, wonderful stay.

I started walking down the road at 8:55am, got to the main road at 9:15am, and got a hitch at 10:30am. I mentioned the road construction was the one-lane/only let one direction of traffic through at a time type. And so, I timed it that every 15ish minutes another stream of 4 or 5 cars would pass me by. I managed to sit and peruse on my phone til I heard them coming, then I’d quick jump up with a smile on my face. I got picked up on the 5th go around.

I believe my drivers name was Bill. Thanks to you Bill! He was headed across the mountains from the Bay Area (lots of folks are from “the Bay Area” I’ve learned) and plans to head down to Bishop, CA to backpack around there. I had much more confidence in his driving thankfully. I was dropped off at 10:45am precisely where I’d gotten picked up the day before. About 10 minutes later, I was hiking once again. I had a tough start and it was smack dab in my face…

I kept thinking that there was no way the line across that giant mountain could be the PCT, but yep, sure was. It actually cut across at a pretty gentle grade. The climb up went pretty good.

Once up on top, it was very windy again, but like always when I reach the high elevations, it’s just crazy mountain landscapes outward.

Look at me go…

I was loving the gentle traverse walking up here on the open ridge. After taking this last photo, I reached a point where I started going down again, but really I stayed up high above 10,500 feet ish for about 5 miles.

I took lunch in as much cover from the wind that I could find down in this bowl. I got a chance to check in with Dave H Master Trailsman and coordinate some stuff I wanted to have him send to my next resupply town. Again, it was nice to hear from the home team and have their support.

Back up again, pretty steeply, through a sort of narrow pass.

Pretty spectacular in the viewage department…

And then, I wound my way around to this dang snow patch.

For the first time, my footprints had sort of gone away. I could see someone had gone through at some point and so I tried it. Boom, right on the ole gluteus maximus. There had been a slick ice layer below the new fresh snow. Plan B, which should have been Plan A if I’d properly taken the time to look around, was to walk around it. It was steep, but easy enough, to go below and then make my way around back up to the trail.

As my old Professor Moody says, “Constant Vigilance!” A good reminder for me, eh?

Once past the slippery slope, I wrapped my way around a large, wide, and shallow bowl that was dry (for the most part) and consisting of a sort of gravelly sand. Looking back at it…

And looking forward…

And then this…

I couldn’t help myself from pushing my fear of heights and going up to and peaking over the edge…

Somewhere around here was the point at which I reached the milestone of having only 200 miles of trail to go! Remember, I’m shooting to get to the Taboose Pass junction a mile 810.2 or something to tie everything together. I celebrated the moment by having some of my gummy candy!

And soon afterwards, I reached the point where the trail started it’s big descent all the way down to the 8,600 elevation range…

Once down there, it was quite different than the wide openness I’d experienced thus far for the day…

I set up along the western rocky shore of Lake Harriet around 6:45pm. Just enough time to set up, take some photos, and get organized before making dinner inside the ole Rattlesnake SL1 tent. Quite the full day!

Today’s Music/Audiobook:

Ben Folds – Rockin’ The Suburbs

Began The Irresistible Revolution – by Shane Claiborne

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors – Dragons

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