The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 23 June 2012

day 19

Day 19 - Mile 760 to mile 775
Tuesday 19 June (0835-1400; 1600-1800)
Distance: 15 miles

It was cold in the night! All advice that I read said that a sleeping
bag good to -7 was needed for this walk, and until now I had seen no
evidence of cool nights. Maybe now those extra down items I've been
carrying for all of those miles will pay their dues - although last
night I got away with just putting my fleece on.

After yesterday's efforts, a lie in was had this morning, and even
when we did stir it took us 2 hours to get packed and ready to go (as
against our usual 1 hour). The good news is that the lower altitude
and the good rest had done the trick and my legs and mind were playing
ball again. I can't claim that I skipped up the climb, but it wasn't
the effort of yesterday.

The most notable point in today's walk was Crabtree Meadows, where we
paused for elevenses. Most PCT walkers take a side-trip from there to
go up Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. For a
few reasons, we opted out of that trip (and in the year that
conditions are best for doing it).

We should perhaps have extended our stay at Crabtree Meadows for
lunch, as it was incredibly pretty, but I like to get the bulk of the
walking done before lunch, so we pushed on for another 4 miles. What
we found in 4 miles was a very nice river, and a mosquito-fest. The
tent was once again used as lunchtime bug-protection. It'll likely be
put to such use on a daily basis from now on.

By four o'clock we were walking again, with just 5 miles to go. That
would position us right at the bottom of the final ascent to Forester
Pass (the highest point on the whole of the PCT).

The final bit of that walk was jaw-dropping. High meadows,
picture-postcards lakes and a backdrop of jagged ridges. I even had a
marmot pose nicely for me as I snuck up and took a photo of it.

The river/creek (when does a creek become a river?) by our campsite
for the night was a cascading delight and the view from the tent isn't
too shoddy either. It's been a couple of weeks since we had the sides
of the tent closed at night (we leave it with just the mesh between us
and the outside world), so if I wake in the night I get to appreciate
the stars and the view. I would appreciate the moon too, except for it
seems to have been missing lately.


  1. over the next week your views of the moon should improve nicely as the rise/set are over night and it will reach full by then.
    Cheers J.P.

  2. That altitude thing is strange - I have experienced it in France at about 9,000ft. At first I didn’t identify my malfunction with altitude - it seemed there was some sort of denial afoot. I was continually cross with myself for no reason I could think of when looking back on it, and I just wanted to sit down and rest when I knew I was really quite fit and shouldn’t have that need, which is probably what induced the self criticism. You have been quite a lot higher than me, and stayed there for longer periods, so I am not surprised at your lethargy.

    I have just read your last three posts in one whilst having a leisurely breakfast in my little study looking out at damp and cloudy weather after endless rain for several days. I hope to get a two mile walk in today, then back home to do some more of my dreary exercises - after seven weeks of daily exercise it is becoming a matter of great will power to sustain them, but they must be done, and there is no doubt they are paying off.

    Keep the posts coming - they are creating a raft of interesting and vivid mental scenes.

    Bon continuation.

  3. Hi M&G,
    Like Conrad, i have just had the pleasure of reading 3 together. Sounds fantastic although tough at times. I don't know if Guitar Lake is on your path but that area looks stunning. Wonder what Marmots taste like.
    According to some, a creek becomes a river when the river vessels using it add up to more than 25 individual crafts.

  4. Hi you two, I've just caught up again after a splurge of activity. Well done on keeping the postings coming and enjoy the rest of your trip. We'll be in (real) marmot country ourselves by the time you get back!
    Have fun...