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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

PCT - Day 52: 6/9/2018 - Frozen Socks, Raging Creeks and Beauty

Trail miles: 14.6 from 820.5 - 835.1
Miles walked: 15.5

Last night’s campsite was the best I’ve ever had. I woke up in the middle of the night last night before the sliver of the moon had risen. The stars were incredible, with clear views of the Milky Way.

Morning light
Today’s objective involved getting to a good high camp on the approach to Muir Pass, which put us just under 15 miles per the plan. Our late start time at 7:00 am was still early enough that Kate had frozen socks to start the day.

Kate's Frozen Socks
The views along Palisade Creek, Glacier Creek, and the Middle Fork Kings River were just unrivaled. John Muir was a visionary in his efforts to protect this place. All day, we saw roaring waterfalls, creeks with crystal clear bluish green waters, stunning meadows, and a healthy forest that provides cover and shade for the napping deer. The only word I can think of to describe the Sierra is magical.

Raging Creek
At one of the dozens of creek crossings today, my right foot slipped off a log and I fell into the creek with the one leg. My other leg sustained a couple minor lacerations from the log I fell off of to add to the pain since my legs are still raw from post-holing coming down Mather Pass.

Ziplock Crossing on a Log
I began a rating system of measuring foot dryness. For example, if someone asked me “How’s your feet?” right after I submerged only my right foot in the water falling off the log, my answer would be “50% dry.”

Today was an easier day since we did not do any passes, so we took a couple of long breaks and spent time repairing our bodies and our friendships with each other.

Another Creek

During our second lunch break, we all fell asleep in the sun. Kate was laying face down on a rock and was sleeping so deep, that she didn’t even wake up when I started poking her with twigs and tossing small pine cones onto her back.

Ziplock Lunch Break
Kate Nap on a Rock
After we finally awoke Sleeping Beauty, which is now Kate’s trail name, we hiked up almost 2000 feet to our camp at 10,500 feet. Along the way, we passed one of the most beautiful meadows I have ever seen, with a clear blue creek zigging and zagging throughout it.

Deer in Meadows
Meadow view of Mountains
At camp Shank and Pocket Knife showed up and we all shared post-holing stories which got laughs now, even though many of our stories recounted tears at the time of the incident.

Tomorrow we will start very early to get over Muir Pass and across seven miles of snow before the snow warms up too much. My legs can’t take much more of a beating from post-holing. As it is, I have scrapes, cuts, and scratches on all side of my lower legs from ankles to thighs.

Muir Pass
We are also trying to get further up the trail to position ourselves right for Selden Pass the following day. And if that’s not enough, we have the most dangerous ford thus far on deck tomorrow when we reach Evolution Creek in the afternoon. Water levels are reportedly waist to chest deep. Tonight I loaded up on calories in hopes of having a ton of energy for this push tomorrow. The Sierra in early June is relentless, but it is also rewarding for the handful of brave souls that dare hike through this area this time of year.

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