Miles: 10.5 to the base of Glen Pass
Currently reading: A Whole New World & A Long Way Home
Today was two months on the trail! Yay! We got a ride from our hotel to the trailhead from Sue, who is supporting her husband as he hikes the trail and seeing the sites along the way. Thank you so much for everything!
We had a nine mile hike back to the actual PCT, but we were able to visit Bullfrog lake again. We only did about 1.5 miles of the PCT because we need to wait until morning to attempt Glen Pass. We camped at mile 790 at about 4pm.
Today was pretty chill, not to hard and a short day of hiking. The trail gets real tomorrow though.
Health: Pretty sure I have a broken finger
Currently reading: A Long Way Home
Today was my 27th birthday! Yay! Saying that, it was a pretty cruddy day.
We got up and left at 6:50. I put on my weird birthday crown and ate hot fudge sundae poptarts for breakfast. We only had 1.7 miles to the top of Glen Pass. The hike up wasn’t to bad, it’s going down when things began to go downhill. No pun intended.
We were juggling snow, ice, and rock. At one point I was trying to transfer between snow and rock and I put all I weight on a rock I thought was stable. It wasn’t. It shifted and all its weight, plus all my weight, camp down and crushed my pinky. The pain was real. I thought I broke it instantly. My first injury on trail and my first cry on trail both came on my birthday. I can move my finger, so I’m not certain it’s broken but it swelled and turned black and blue. It’s just the top of my pinky, so it could be worse. It just sucks I have to deal with it out in the wilderness and we won’t be in a town for another six days. I can’t even call my daddy for what to do. But, then again, it’s kinda badass to just deal with it out in the wild. Call me Bear Grace.
The Sierras are beautiful for sure, but honestly, I haven’t been loving it so far. The trail itself is just so dang hard, it seems like it wants to kill you every other step. It’s either snow, ice, river crossings, or lose rock, something always wants to end you. Not to mention carrying so much food and the bear can. I just don’t get why people say this is the best part of the trail. I’m excited for Oregon.
The “water slide”
We then had eight never ending miles down hill until we came to an awesome suspension bridge. It rocked like crazy as you crossed it. We also had a lot of creek crossings so our shoes and socks were constantly soaked.
Mother Hen did have a little birthday surprise for me which we shared right about at the 800 mile marker. She had gotten Cow Tails (my favorite candy) sent from home to Independence. That was a day brightener.
Once we made it to camp we got a big group: Bearman, Poppins, Bearcub and others and we had a campfire. This was my first on trail and it was fun and warming all at once. I really enjoy this group we’re hiking around at this moment. I hope tomorrow is a better day and my finger heals quickly.
Health: Finger still black and blue, upset stomach, some baby blisters.
Currently reading: Brooklyn
I woke up at 2am and felt super nauseous. I ended up throwing up and staying awake until 4:30. I scared the guys in the tent next to me as I threw my head out of my tent to throw up just as he was packing up camp. My alarm went off at 5am, and I couldn’t move. We were the last to leave camp because I was moving so slowly. I felt lightheaded and, since I had nothing in my system, utterly drained.
A thruhike takes no prisoners, if you’re ill you still have to climb mountains and walk twenty miles. This is where commitment and perseverance comes in. I’m not gonna lie, as I was dying hiking up to Pinchot Pass I was close to my breaking point. I’m glad we’re so far from town because my whole perspective will change by the time we make it to Mammoth. Between getting ill after Whitney, almost (or possibly) breaking a finger, and then getting a stomach bug all within a week and on my birthday, I was pretty close to wanting to throw in the towel.
The rest of the day wasn’t to bad. I ate tons, so I think I got my calories back in ok balance. Pinchot was challenging but not as bad as Glen and we had tons of creek crossings including two that went as deep as my mid-thigh. One in particular had a strong current and was a bit scary. It’s hard with a broken trekking pole and a injured finger because I just can’t grip as well as I’d like. Mother Hen stays true to her name and even stayed in the middle of a couple of creeks to make sure I made it across ok.
We camped in a lovely spot with Bear Cub and Sailor. Sailor has hiked the whole PCT before and told us that this current week is the hardest on the whole trail. Good to know, so if I can just survive this, I should be ok. Maybe this isn’t the best time to get a stomach bug and injure a finger, though. Tomorrow is a big day and I hope I don’t become ill in the night.
Health: My feet are aching and my finger is still purple.
Currently reading: Brooklyn & Elite
Today was brutal. Brutal and beautiful.
We left to beast Mather Pass at about 6am. It was cold. Cold as the dickens. Mather we had read was the most fear inducing of the passes, so we were slightly apprehensive. Well, since this was a low snow year there really wasn’t much fear involved. There was very little snow in the north side, although if there had been, I could see how it could have been kind of frightening. The way down had much more snow but it was manageable. Mather ended up being one of the easier passes, actually.
We then had fourteen miles downhill or something. We went from 12,000 to 8,000 and back to 12,000ft tomorrow for Muir Pass. Our knees hate us right now. However, once back closer to 8,000ft we got to walk through this lush and gorgeous forest. When people told me the Sierras were like Yosemite on crack I didn’t believe them, well, now I see what they mean. I also got to see a family of four deer. I love deer. I love all animals. The deer here aren’t really scared of people that much because we aren’t a threat. They let me chat with them and take a few photos. I also almost stepped on a snake. We had a little dance and he slithered off into the bushes as I tried to regain my balance.
We went over 19 miles, which in the Sierras is a huge day. It was all worth it though when, while I was eating dinner, another deer came out of the woods and paid us a visit.
Health: One toenail is on the verge of falling off. I’m terrified.
Currently reading: My First Summer in the Sierras & Apex
Oh, today was a day. We left camp around 6am and started up the 5.5 mile trek to Muir Pass. I started listening to My First Summer in the Sierras by John Muir to inspire me, and although I throughly enjoyed listening to him describe some of the places and things we’ve seen, the mere fact that Muir Pass wanted to kill me just made me angry. First off, it was cold this morning. Bone chilling cold, and on top of that we then had to ford about 3 streams filled with snow melt. Ice cold water.
Next, we had miles and miles of snow to walk through. Well, walk, slide, slip, fall through. And much of it was up hill. When we made it to the top we got to go inside the very cool Muir cabin, much nicer than the emergency shelter atop Mt Whitney.
The way down was filled with tons of snow, post holing, and losing the trail. Our feet were numb from the snow and creek crossings. At least we only have two more passes on this stretch.
We cut our day a bit short because tomorrow we don’t have a pass, we just have to get close to Seldon. We camped in Evolution Valley which we had heard was gorgeous. It is. We’re at mile 848.
Miles: 15ish to mile 864
Health: As well as to be expected.
Currently reading: Apex & 1 Timothy
We were able to sleep in a bit, and by that I mean we awoke before 6am. This was the first morning in what feels like an eternity that we didn’t have a pass to do this morning. Muir Pass and Seldon Pass were to far away for us to do back to back so this day will be spent getting as close to Seldon as possible.
We only have two more passes and the are both below 11,000ft, so we’re hoping that means they won’t be quite as challenging.
There are two river crossings in the Sierra Nevada that are notoriously challenging, dangerous, and difficult: Evolution Creek and Bear Creek. We had Evolution Creek to tackle today and Bear tomorrow. Turns out, Evolution has an alternate that was going to be potentially safer and easier to cross so we took the alternate. I’m so glad we did. The first creek didn’t even come up to my knees and the second, although a bit swifter, barely touched my thighs. When we went past the real crossing a bit later, it probably would have been fine to cross, but the huge, unforgiving waterfalls just around the corner made me so glad we didn’t bother trying to risk it.
The rest of the day was spent getting to 864 where we wanted to camp. We walked past the trail turn off for Muir Ranch, a family run ranch where you can get resupply for a mere $85 because it has to be brought in my mule. Well, turns out, it is still closed until the 22nd of June. We knew a number of hikers who were counting on it so I hope they’ll be ok.
I saw a bunch of deer today. No matter how crappy I’m feeling, if I see a deer it just brightens my day. They aren’t threatened by people but I just feel like they know how much I love them and all animals and they never seem bothered by my presence. I also saw a kind of prairie dog for the first time, I’m calling it a Corn Dog.
We camped by a lake which I now know means I’m in for a cold night. The High Sierras have been beautiful but I’m ready to be done. Two more passes, two-and-a-half more days.
Miles: 17 to mile 880.6
Currently reading: Apex & Wildflower
Last night I went to bed around 8pm and, while having a creepy dream of some sorts, was awaken by a bone chilling sound I shall not soon forget, a howling wolf pack. I wasn’t even sure what I was hearing at first being still in a daze of dreams, I froze as the sound echoed off the surrounding mountains and made it sound as if they were all around us. It continued for a few minutes and then picked up again later on but sounded much further away. Ok, bears we were warned about, mountain lions too. But why did no one mention wolves?! But the story continues…
The next morning as I was getting out of my tent, my full intention was to go right to Mother Hen and discuss the wolf sounds, she comes running over to my tent.
“Look! There’s a wolf!”
I jump from my tent and lo and behold, a lone Grey wolf is prancing through the meadow next to our tent. We weren’t scared, I was relieved because just five minutes before I had been right where he was answering nature’s call. We watched him in awe as he went back into the tree and we heard him howling not five minutes later. There, so we may not have seen a bear but we got to see a wolf, which I haven’t heard anyone else mention that. Pretty cool.
We then packed up camp and headed to tackle Seldon Pass. Thank the Lord it was by far the easiest pass yet and we were up and over within an hour. The view was one of the best as well. We then headed down to conquer Bear Creek, one of the two notoriously dangerous river crossings. Again, thankfully it wasn’t bad at all and only came just above the knee.
The rest of the day was spent hiking up and down and through the woods. Today was relatively chill. We got to one section where Mother Hen had cell service and we were able to book a hotel in Mammoth. I can’t wait to shower and clean clothes and sleep in a warm bed. The week out in the High Sierras has definitely improved from the start but I am still ready to be done. It has not only been physically challenging but mentally and emotionally as well. I’m ready for a hotel if you catch my drift.
Miles: 16 to mile 896
Health: My tent tried to decapitate me, but otherwise, all good.
Currently reading: Wildflower (surprisingly amazing book!) & In the Hand of the Goddess
The day started with a 4+ mile uphill trek to Silver Pass, the final pass in this crazy High Sierras week and a half. I still hate uphills, I don’t think that will ever change on this hike. The only shining moment was when a marmot decided to be my friend and instead of running away he came towards me. We sat and talked for a few minutes, side by side. Sometimes. I really think I get along better with animals than people. Maybe I missed my calling. We were soon interrupted by some people, one who I realized is an Instagram famous hiker, but that’s not that important.
At the top of the pass Mother Hen and I did our regular dancing for my vlogs and this time were joined by Bear Cub who we’ve been hiking with a lot through the Sierras. She’s been out in the wilds for thirteen days! Badass! It makes our eight days look a bit lackluster. I’m still ready for a shower and bed tomorrow.
A little later on, during a break, this chick walks by and comments on how crazy I am that I still had my beanie on in the middle of the day. Honestly, I had forgotten about it and mostly wear it to keep the hair out of my face. She said I was crazy because it was so hot out. She then proceeded to strip down to the nude and jump in the ice cold river. I guess we just have a different definition of the word “crazy.”
Setting up camp wasn’t pleasant because we both kept accidentally setting up our tents in areas where apparently there were ginormous rocks a few inches into the ground. Our stakes wouldn’t stay put. I finally found a spot and that’s when my tent decided to go apoplectic and tried to take my head off. The evening ended with my most disgusting dinner yet, garden vegetable quinoa. I won’t be ever eating that again, I couldn’t even finish it. I’ve never been so ready for a town.
For future Thruhikers sake’s, I have rated the passes as to how difficult I found them. I went over them in mid-June in a late but low snow year:
Days 70 & 71
Miles: 10.5 to Mammoth and then a zero
Health: Great, now I can kick my feet up.
Currently reading: My First Summer in the Sierras & Yes Please
We had about 10.5 miles to get into Mammoth Lakes and boy did we fly. We also passed by the 900 mile marker! I’m not sure we’ve ever gone that fast before! When we got to the campsite we took the free trolley into Mammoth and went to our hotel. We were greeted by the rudest front desk lady who wouldn’t let us check in early so we were forced to go get lunch smelling like nine days without a shower. Spoiler alert, it’s not pretty.
We got some pizza and a salad and then went to Rite-Aid and got some face masks. We are in dire need of some pampering. Then we went to Vons to get some munchies. When we checked into the hotel, we took showers and did laundry. I called my sister and mom and had a great time telling them about my past few days adventures. I spent a chunk of time catching up on all the lovely birthday wishes on social media. That was a wonderful surprise.
For dinner we met up with Bear Cub and had some Mexican food and then went and got a pint of ice cream, which I could not finish, for dessert.
Curling up in a warm bed is a luxury I hope I never ever take for granted again.
The next day we resupplied and rested. We ate practically the entire free breakfast and had no regrets. Getting back in trail I think will be more challenging this time, but I’m ready to hit Yosemite and mile 1,000!