Day 56: mile 774.1 to mile 788.9
6.10.18. 14.8 miles.
I feel like today was finally a real taste of the Sierra. I felt really good in the morning, ready to start the day and tackle Forester. First we had to cross Tyndall Creek, which was definitely the hardest crossing to date. Unfortunately, Hot Mess lost his phone to the creek while trying to get across without getting wet. I realized there was no way I was getting across without fording, so at 6:30 am I was already knee deep in ice cold water fording the creek. The trail crossing was definitely not safe, so we went a little bit upstream where there were more rock islands and shallower water. We tried to find the phone for a little bit once we were across, but had no luck.
We had 5 miles to the top of Forester and they were not easy. The approach for the first few miles were ok, but we lost the trail a few times and had some snow fields to cross, which added time. Once we got to the final approach, the trail kind of disappeared into snow and we essentially rock scrambled up (with microspikes on) until we found the snow free switchbacks. 10/10 would not recommend. Once we got to the switchbacks, it wasn’t really difficult! I was anxious about the infamous snow chute, but I put my microspikes on and just used my trekking poles for better balance and made it across totally fine! It does appear sketchy though- definitely don’t look down! Getting to the top of the pass (finally) was really awesome. And the views were just so incredible! The Sierra is beautiful.
Next the not so fun part started: walking on the “trail” through a huge snowfield. The north side of the pass was blanketed in snow, and the snow was getting slushy at 10:30 am, which is when we started going. I really wish we had started earlier, and we realized our mistake of starting so late in the morning. It took us longer than expected to get to the pass, so we learned our lesson. I definitely took my time because being careful is always so much more important than going fast, and it was a long drop down.
Finally after an hour or so, and maybe only moving 1 mph, there was some dry trail! We discovered we still had some snow to navigate, but at least it was mostly dry. Butters and I sort of intentionally glissaded down one of the snowy parts, and it was fun! I got my butt a little scratched up though, but overall it was funny. Our views coming down the pass were spectacular! I felt so lucky to be alive & in the Sierra today. It was so beautiful, and it was everything I had dreamed the “real” Sierra would be! We lunched in an awesome tentsite when we finally had dry trail, and then had a few more stream crossings before our last ascent of the day, which was pretty brutal. We wanted to make it to the Kearsarge Trail junction though, so we had to do it today! We got to camp relatively early and it was so nice because there was sun and it was warm! The last few camps have been pretty cold in the evening, so this was a nice change. I really can’t believe how few miles we do today, especially because it feels like we did more! This will sound crazy, but our Whitney day yesterday felt less draining than today! I think snow does that to you. I can’t imagine what it was like last year, almost never walking on dry trail. I don’t think I could have done it.
We are all really excited to be heading into Bishop tomorrow. This stretch of trail has been so great, but town is also so great, and I am looking forward to sharing photos & stories of my hike so far with my Uncle Rick!