PCT Day 153 – Wednesday, September 13
Tyndall Creek Mile 774.7 to Bullfrog Lake Junction Mile 788.5
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 13.7
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1658.8
Feet Ascended Today: 3288
Feet Descended Today: 3610
Current Elevation: 10526
I awoke at 6:00 am today and was pleased to discover that it hadn’t rained overnight and my tent was dry. Yay! My shoes were still wet from crossing Tyndall Creek yesterday evening so it wasn’t super pleasant putting them on this morning. But wasn’t so bad.
I was on the trail shortly before 7:00 am and headed uphill towards Forrester Pass. I was glad I had waited until this morning to cross the pass as the was a beautiful jewel blue color with no clouds in sight. I was relieved to not have to worry about thunderstorms on the pass today.
As I hiked up and away from the creek, I soon passed the timberline and granite peaked surrounded me in every direction. It was absolutely breathtaking. I hiked past some deep blue glacial lakes at the foot of the mountains and stopped to filter water from a stream that flowed straight from the source.
I had been leapfrogging with Mark and Andy, who I met a couple of days ago at Rock Creek, and I ran into them again ascending the pass. We ended up hiking the rest of the way together and it was nice to have someone else with me as I ascended to the top.
The switchbacks near the top were pretty gnarly but I didn’t mind them at all today. In fact, other than a little shortness of breath, I didn’t feel any symptoms from altitude sickness at all. No nausea, no headache, no dizziness. I don’t know if it was the medication or if I have finally acclimated, but I was relieved. Either way, I won’t be at this altitude again for the rest of the trip – all the upcoming passes will be at a lower elevation for which I am grateful.
I reached the top of the pass around 11:00 am and 360 degree views stretched out all around me. I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t really windy at all on the top. I stopped for a photo break with Mark and Andy. Sadly, we noticed that someone had left 2 large fuel canisters right under the sign at the top of the Pass. It was bizarre – who would do that? Mark grabbed the empty one and I grabbed the full one so we could pack them out.
Hiking down the north side of the Pass was just as breathtaking as the hike up. I passed over a small snowfield and avoided another by walking around on the rocks, but other than that the trail was snow-free. I continued down switchbacks past some glacial lakes and took a lunch break once the path entered the tree line. As I as eating, another PCT hiker named Houdini came by and stopped for a chat. He was almost done with his hike and completely out of food. I had way too much food as I hadn’t been eating much due to altitude sickness and was happy to share some with him.
The trail continued downhill and paralleled Bubbs Creek for a while, which is a popular camping spot. I elected to hike a little further to the junction with the Bullfrog Lake trail so I would be well positioned to hike out on Kearsarge Pass tomorrow. As I hiked, I met a Park Service biologist who was hiking with a pack and a large net. She was researching a fungal outbreak on the park’s frogs and so brought the net to catch frogs. She looked like she really enjoyed her job.
I was in bed and asleep by 8:30 pm as I planned an early morning the following day. It was.