PCT Day 166 – Tuesday, September 26
Red’s Meadow Mile 906.7 to Mile 915.9
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 9.2
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1786.2
Feet Ascended Today: 1986
Feet Descended Today: 769
Current Elevation: 8758
I woke up today feeling discouraged. I had hoped to hike all the way to Sierra City and therefore complete the state of California before stopping for the season. But I’m still feeling nervous about the unusually early snowfall. The weather is supposed to be good for the next few weeks but I’ve heard that I could expect to encounter 1-2 feet of snow at higher elevations thanks to the recent snowfall. I wouldn’t be as worried if I was hiking with friends but I’m uneasy about hiking in the Sierras by myself with the prospect of snow on the ground.
My next resupply location is Tuolumne Meadows which is in only 36 miles so it’s not too far. Actually, Tuolumne has just closed for the season and my resupply box is a 1.5-hour drive from the trail down in Yosemite Valley. The buses have stopped running from Tuolumne to Yosemite Valley so I’ll have to hitch or maybe even get a permit to hike into Yosemite. The box has my medication in it so I definitely have to get it. I’ve never been to Yosemite before and I’ve always wanted to check it out. But I take too much time in Yosemite I may run out of time to continue hiking on the PCT.
I took a long bath this morning, putting off my departure. I can’t remember being this reluctant about getting back on the trail for a long time, if ever. I’m not going to finish hiking the PCT this year anyway so it’s hard to force myself to keep going when it’s so flipping cold at night. And when I’m so nervous about the snow.
I eventually got out of the tub and packed up. The buses aren’t running anymore to Red’s Meadows so I called a cab. I hung out across the street at Schat’s Bakery and munched on some pastries while I waited for my ride.
I hit the trail around 12:30 pm. I wasn’t moving very fast today, but I only planned to hike 8 or 9 miles because I didn’t want to camp at a super high elevation. An hour or so later I stopped for lunch at an overlook where I had a good view of Devil’s Postpile. An amazing geological formation created from hexagonal columns of basalt, Devil’s Postpile reminded me of The Colonnades rock formation which I saw last year when I hiked the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier. Pretty cool.
After lunch I continued hiking until I left Devil’s Postpile National Monument and the PCT path split from the John Muir Trail for a few miles. The JMT and PCT follow the exact same stretch of trail for about 200 miles from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite National Park, with the exception of this 12-mile stretch. I have no idea why.
I passed Minaret Falls and continued hiking until I came to the Agnew Meadows Trailhead. I emptied my garbage in the trash there and continued hiking for another mile uphill to a spot with great views of Mammoth Mountain.