PCT Day 152 – Tuesday, September 12
Crabtree Meadow Mile 766.3 to Tyndall Creek Mile 774.7
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 7.7
Non-PCT Miles Hiked today: .8
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1645
Feet Ascended Today: 1558
Feet Descended Today: 1381
Current Elevation: 10973
I awoke at 6:00 am to blue skies. Everything was wet outside but I had stayed cozy and warm all night. My sleeping quilt was completely dry, which was the most important thing since it’s made of down. Water had soaked through the floor of my tent in a few places but no harm was done since my quilt was elevated off the floor by two sleeping pads.
I looked at the map and saw that Forrester Pass was 13 miles away. At 13153 feet, Forrester Pass is the highest point on the PCT. It’s one of the most important milestones on the trail. I had originally planned to hike over Forrester Pass today, but I decided to save it for tomorrow. I was still feeling worn out from summiting Whitney yesterday. Also, more thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon and I didn’t want to get stuck on Forrester Pass during a thunderstorm.
So, I decided to hike only 8.5 miles today to Tyndall Creek. That would position me to hike up Forrester first thing tomorrow morning. And it would give me a day to chill and enjoy the Sierras at a leisurely pace. So I took my time this morning getting ready, spreading out my tent to dry and cooking breakfast.
I still had a ton of food in my bearcan because I hadn’t been eating very much the past couple of days and because I packed way too much food apparently. I almost had enough food to skip my next resupply point in Independence and go all the way to Vermilion Valley Resort. But I had shipped a package to Independence with medication so I had to go.
I chatted this morning with some of the other hikers before I hit the trail. There are lots of other folks in the Sierras hiking the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Trail. I don’t mind the crowds though. It’s nice to be with other hikers again. Some hikers even gave me some medication for altitude sickness. Normally I don’t usually try medicine that I’m not familiar with but I decided to give it a go. I have been feeling pretty bad.
At 10:00 am I hiked the .8 miles back to the PCT and headed north. I took my time, taking breaks and admiring the views. I was definitely in the High Sierras now, with amazing mountains everywhere I looked.
Around lunchtime I crossed Wallace Creek and took a short lunch break. I had to hop over some stones to cross the creek but still got my feet a little wet. I was happy to have an appetite for lunch and ate a tortilla with deli-style tuna and a tortilla with peanut butter and jelly. That was a good sign.
I kept my break short, however, as it looked like the weather was about to turn and I had to hike over Bighorn Plateau next. The plateau was only at an elevation of 11400 feet but it seemed like a bad place to be in a thunderstorm. I hurried to the plateau and just in time. The plateau is a windswept flat expanse with breathtaking mountains in every direction. Blue skies with puffy white clouds stretched out in front of me but dark clouds menaced from behind me. As I descended from the plateau, the skies opened and hail pelted all around me.
I reached Tyndall Creek around 4:00 pm. I didn’t see an easy way to cross the creek without getting my feet wet. The water reached about mid-calf, but it was flowing fast and the creekbed was covered in large rocks so I kept my shoes on. Wet shoes again. Guess I should get used to it.
Note: I sent my camp shoes home to keep my pack weight down. I knew it meant that I would get my feet wet a lot in the Sierras. My shoes dry fast though as they are trail runners (Lone Peak Altra 3.0’s) and not hiking boots.
Tyndall Creek is a popular campsite and lots of other hikers had set up tents already when I arrived. I was happy to see Stephen and Derek, the two guys from Texas that I shared a ride with from Lone Pine, at the campsite too. We ate dinner dinner together but made a dash for our tents when it started raining again.
As I write this, it’s still early but I’m cozy and warm inside my sleeping quilt enjoying the view of the mountains. I’m looking forward to crossing Forrester Pass tomorrow!