PCT Day 160 – Wednesday, September 20
Mile 859.5 to Mile 877.9
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 18.4
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1748.2
Feet Ascended Today: 3692
Feet Descended Today: 4030
Current Elevation: 8250
I woke up today feeling more rested and was glad I stopped earlier last night. My goal today was to hike as close as possible to the junction towards Vermillion Valley Resort as I’d like to take the morning ferry tomorrow. I am definitely ready for a shower, laundry, and a hot meal.
I spent the morning going uphill towards Selden Pass. At first, I followed a series of switchbacks uphill through the trees. Then the path broke out of the trees and I arrived at Sallie Keyes Lakes. I walked around the lake to a small stream that divided the two lakes. A young man heading southbound reached the crossing before me and so I waited for him to cross first. He carefully walked across the rocks, but the rocks were wet and he lost his balance and fell in. He fell into the stream up to his thigh and the weight of his backpack almost pitched his whole body in before he righted himself.
“Oh no!! Are you ok?” I asked?
“Yeah I’m ok,” he said, pulling himself out of the water, his pant leg soaked.
“Are you sure you didn’t twist your ankle or anything?” I worriedly asked, not willing to leave him until I was sure he was ok.
“I’m actually really pissed off and I want to be alone right now,” he said.
“Ok, I’ll go then,” I said, taking my queue to leave. Poor guy.
I continued hiking up to Heart Lake and decided it was too beautiful to pass up. I stopped and made some ramen for brunch that I got out of the hiker box at Muir Trail Ranch. I’m really enjoying this new dinner for breakfast tradition. While I cooked, I met a 70-year-old hiker who hikes a section of the PCT every year. He was accompanied by a younger man who I assumed to be his grandson. He wasn’t hiking very fast but I thought it was awesome that he was out there hiking at all.
I was engrossed in a John Grisham audiobook that I had checked out from my local library and listened while I hiked up to the top of Selden Pass. At 10913 feet, it’s the shortest and easiest pass that I’ve crossed in the Sierras so far. On the other side, the Marie Lakes stretched out in front of me. I focused on making some miles and hiked past the lakes and downhill into the Bear Creek Valley.
At the bottom of the hill I crossed Bear Creek, another major water crossing in the Sierras. It’s cited as being one of the hardest water crossings when attempted in early season but the water only came to about midway up my calves.
On the other side of the creek, I sat on some rocks with some other PCT hikers named Moonwalker and Rock Study to dry out my shoes a little. After some conversation, I realized that they knew Hitch and Woodstock who I hiked with in Northern California. Ha! Small world.
Some Forest Service employees who were doing some work nearby also chatted with us. One young man asked to see my permit and I happily complied. This time I even got a selfie with him. Yesssss!!!! He was a good sport and pretended to look stern in the photo, when in reality he was rather shy.
I hiked along Bear Creek for a while and then started along the descent towards Mono Creek. It was a long hill with lots of switchbacks. I was hoping to make it to the bottom of the hill and camp there for the night but it got dark and I had to hike by the light of my headlamp. I eventually found a flat spot about a mile from the bottom of the hill and set up camp.
It was a pleasant evening and I was feeling warm from hiking. I contemplated leaving off my rainfly, since I figured I’d be warm enough due to the lower elevation, but in the end I decided to put it up.
I was very glad that I did, as you’ll find out when you read tomorrow’s blog post.