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.