Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Never Liked The Rain Until I Walked Through It With You - (6/11)

Mile 761.8 to mile 774.2
12.8 mile

Surprisingly, we woke up to a dry tent, inside and out. With all the moisture we got yesterday I thought for sure we would have condensation in the tent this morning. Not a drop. 

We got a bit of a late start this morning though, it probably had a bit to do with the argument we had. It was nice not to rush. I even had time to make a cup of coffee, or something coffee like. I used cold water and added a Startbucks Via packet, a Carnation Instand Breakfast packet, and some of Mandie's orange flavored Acli-mate. It was gross and tasted like orange flavored chocolate. I drank it anyway.  (Acli-mate is a blend of herbs and vitamins that you add to water which is supposed to help with altitude sickness. It is yummy and tastes like Tang.)

From Guyot Creek we headed towards Crabtree Meadow and Whitney Creek, some 5 miles away. First, we had to finish climbing the rest of the hill that we had to prematurely stop climbing yesterday.  There was only 600 more feet of elevation so it wasn't horrible. After the top the trail would level out before dropping down to Crabtree Meadow. 

As we were descending we had some amazing views of Mt. Whitney. Seeing what an epic climb it would be made me really want to do it. But, we needed to stick to our original goal of doing the PCT. We will come back another time and make a weekend trip out of it. 

Crabtree Meadow has got to be one of the more spectacular sights we have seen so far. It is a huge green, lush, masquito infested, meadow with Mt. Whitney as its backdrop. On one side there is a massive granite wall and on the other a forest of pine trees, down the middle runs Whitney Creek. To top it off, there were about a half a dozen deer grazing in the meadow. It was one of those postcard sights.

A little further down the trail we ran across the family of hikers that we met at Guyot Creek. We made some small talk with them, asked them how they faired during the storm, and then continued on.  

Just beyond the family the trail was intersected by Whitney Creek. We each took off our shoes and socks and wadded through the cold, but shallow creek. Once safe and sound on the other side we dropped our packs and sat down for a while to enjoy the scenery. We also had to eat, drink, and do some laundry. Pine trees make a great clothesline and give our socks a fresh pine scent. 

The mosquitos were getting to us so we didn't stay as long as we wanted to. Back on our feet, we would start walking on a new trail, the John Muir Trail (JMT). It is still the PCT but it is also the JMT, for some 200+ miles. There will be times when it splits apart for a short time, and we will probably take the JMT because of its beauty. 

Since we are now on the JMT, I would like to recommend that you read some of John Muir's short stories. He is an amazing story teller and writer. He can be a little long winded at times, a whole chapter on a tree, but the way he describes things is incredible. If you can, read the story about the dog Stickeen. 

We had a couple more stream crossing on our way to Tyndall Creek. One was a seasonal stream that was flowing pretty well for a seasonal stream and the other was Wallace Creek. I took my chances hopping from rock to rock when crossing Wallace Creek but Mandie just went for it and walked through it, shoes and all. I think she might have regretted that decision a little later on in the afternoon. 

From Wallace Creek we climbed for a while getting spectacular views of the High Sierra. We would climb to just under 11,500 feet, above the tree line. Just before we broke out of the trees the sky opened up again and it started raining and hailing on us. We found a large tree and busted out our Tyvek groundsheet to huddle under to protect us from the elements. 

Mandie, with her wet feet started getting really cold. We had two options, break out the tent so she could warm up, or start hiking again. It looked like the rain was starting to let up so we opted for the later. We broke out of the tree line and hiked along a wide open ridge for a little while. I believe the area was called Big Horn Plateau. It was another amazing sight. We had a 180 degree view of the sun lit Sierra mountains. They were partially covered in snow which makes us think that they look like those iced oatmeal cookies. Whitney was behind us covered in clouds and rain. I wanted to spend more time up here but we were trying to out run the storm. I still couldn't help myself and took way too many pictures. 

The tree line was in sight and we hustled to get to it. As we approached It the sky decided to open up again, more rain and lots of hail. We eventually made it to the trees and took cover under the first decent sized one we could find. It hailed a lot. It eventually let up enough to where we could make a break for lower ground. We made a break for it. 

It was about a mile further to Tyndall Creek, which is about the closest we can get to Forrester Pass before having to go up and over. We need to go over the pass early in the morning when the snow is hard enough to walk on without post-holing. 

It was a planned short day with lots of exciting weather and beautiful scenery. Tomorrow is a big day for us. I am both excited and nervous. It will be amazing. 






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Crossing creeks and streams
Do it right and you stay dry
Otherwise splish splash