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]

Tuesday 24 July 2012

PCT In Photos: Week 5

Just a few more photos to finish the set (although I am going to sneak a few more in, via some posts I’m intending on other subjects related to the trip).

It’s a while since we’ve had a photo of Mick behind a big plateful of food, so let’s start by rectifying that. We were in the town of Mammoth (a town we hadn’t intended to visit until a day and a half before we arrived there) and I’d realised that the trip was rapidly drawing to a close without me having tried pancakes for breakfast. Mick followed my lead, and we both opted for the wheat option, to be served with fruit, by way of a token effort towards being healthy! It probably goes without saying that we cleared our plates.


The couple at the table behind Mick were PCT thru-hikers and were having a successful trip, even though it was their first ever backpacking trip! Nowt like starting small…

Finally, after 2 nights in town (the only town where we took a zero), we had to drag ourselves away from all of the food and back to the trail, but on the way we took a little detour to see the Devil’s Postpile National Monument. That’s it behind us in the snap below. Admittedly, it’s not the best illustration of it, but it was quite an interesting natural feature (being tall hexagonal columns of rock, created initially by volcanic activity and subsequently exposed by glacial action).


Look how clean and tidy we are after our town stay!

Back onto the PCT we found that the maintenance teams had done an excellent job in clearing the trail of fallen-tree obstructions. People had been talking for weeks about whether the trail would be open and passable in the Red’s Meadow area, where a storm last November brought gusts of up to 200mph, which felled tens of thousands of trees. As you can see, some of those trees were quite big:


Some fallen trees were quite handy for dry-footed stream crossings:


Later the same day (Day 32) something happened that was so remarkable that Mick & I both simultaneously turned to each other and went ‘oooh!’ (really, we did!). The sun went behind a cloud! That hadn’t happened since we woke up to a cloudy morning on Day 5. We were in the sunshine when this snap was taken, but you can see that the pretty lake and waterfall across the valley are in shade.


Suddenly, just a blink of an eye after we had set out into that fan-oven on Day 1, we were on our last approach to our destination. This is Lyell Canyon, along which we walked our final eight (almost completely flat) miles. It must have been the flattest multi-mile section since leaving the Mojave plain and it did lack variety compared to what had come before, but it was certainly fast walking.


And then came the end, where we should have taken an ‘end photo’. I even said, whilst we were sitting at one of those picnic benches, that we should get someone to take a photo of us with the ‘Tuolumne Meadows Store’ sign behind us, but then we got distracted by more chatting (all of the people in this photo are PCTers and we knew most of them). So, in keeping with our pathetic excuse for a start photo, the last photo of the trip was quickly grabbed out of the bus window as it pulled away from the bus stop.


And there you have it – a 500 mile chunk of the PCT in 72 photos!


  1. Excellent report, fabulous photos, loved following your trip (now I don't have to bother...) So, where next?

  2. What can I say? Such a wonderful trip and - by the look and sound of it - an amazing adventure!

    Thanks for sharing.