Total mileage: 788
Today’s mileage: 21 (counting Kearsarge Pass)
We crossed the highest point on the PCT today! Weather was very cooperative. It was a very long day though, mostly due to all the elevation changes. Ran into a Boy Scout troop doing a 50 miler toward Whitney Portal. Here is a brief video showing Sweetums as she reached the summit of Forester Pass. She was kind enough to take several photos of me on the summit.
The landscape was amazing. I took close to 150 photos. The sky was gray the whole day, but it didn’t rain or snow. I felt a bit of anxiety about the entire experience. This day more than any other I was hoping for a close hiking companion. It is remarkable how few people you see out here. If it weren’t for the boy scout troop, I could have counted everyone on both hands. I also felt a palpable urgency to get off the summit, only moments after having reached it. Your view goes for miles and miles, and the pressing thought is, “I have at least 7 hours of motion to go before I am in tree cover or have some level of shelter from the elements.”
I met a new hiker today, named Howly, which is slightly ironic given that he is from the big island and not a “haole” in any regard, hehe. Howly and I reached the Onion Valley Trailhead with about 10 minutes of daylight left, and we were very fortunate to catch a ride with a local geology teacher to the town of Independence. The town has a Subway sandwich shop and a Chevron. And that’s it. I was able to order my sandwich just moments before they closed. Everyone bought 6-packs at the Chevron next door and we sat outside and enjoyed our libations in the Subway parking lot. Occasionally, large semis barreled down the main drag through town, but it was otherwise eerily vacant and quiet. We are camped right now like some bums on a park there. Taking a shuttle to Bishop in the morning.
Honeybadger on our approach to the southside of Forester Pass.
The Kearsarge Pass is a 7 mile detour from the PCT, which most hikers take to return to civilization to resupply. While the PCT is rated for horses and pack animals, Kearsarge is not; meaning it has a steeper grade at times. It wasn’t too steep though, just exhausting because the day was already so long.