Wow what a sight!! I couldn’t believe my eyes as I climbed up out of Sonora Pass and into the high country above 10,000 feet. The moon was full and a spectacular sunset was about to take place. I was feeling so euphoric that I hiked into the night and arrived at camp late. At this point, I had Yosemite on my mind.
The high Sierra portion of the trail was by far the most difficult physically but the shear beauty of granite (and lots of it) made up for the water loss (sweat) as I slogged up the passes like a pack mule. The trail through the Sierras passes through three National Parks. They are Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia.
All three were spectacular, but Yosemite stuck in my mind like super glue. Meandering through meadows full of little red flowers, fording streams chalk full of golden trout, catching sneak peaks of waterfalls, and conquering Donahue Pass with a heavy load while a pack of coyotes cheered us on made this section a memory that will last a lifetime. I even got to chat with some climbers about some of the rock features in the park such as the world famous Half Dome.
What can I say, this section from South Lake Tahoe to Southern Kennedy Meadows is a dream come true. About 400 miles of natural beauty caused by time and weathering.
One of my favorite times in the high mountains was summiting the 14,505 foot Mt. Whitney and then subsequently hiking two more days to Cottonwood Pass with my dad. My dad took on the challenge like a champion. It took us all day to complete the hike. 17 miles round trip and 4,500 feet of elevation gain. Needless to say we were too tired to eat much dinner in camp.
Everything in the past 3 weeks has been a pleasure to experience and I hope I find myself back in the Sierras again hiking the John Muir Trail. At this point I’m 750 miles from the finish and have a month left of hiking. Halloween can’t come soon enough. It will definitely be the definition of bittersweet.
It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. It’s been 2.5 weeks but I’ve been doing some solid hiking up until this point to try and cover some ground.
So far, I’ve done about 1,500 miles since my start in late June. I crossed the halfway point on September 2. It’s amazing how many more miles I’m doing consistently per day than the AT. I’m doing between 25-30 miles. Also, I achieved my personal record near Shasta California with 33 miles in one day.
What can I say, California is beautiful. The large slabs of granite, the wildflowers, snowcapped jagged peaks, and huge pine trees have made for an enjoyable couple of weeks so far. I have begun to enter the higher elevations of the Sierras. It won’t be long before I cross Sonora Pass and be in the high Sierras, which are considered the crown jewel of the trail.
I have about a month and half left of hiking. The two most challenging parts are left. The high Sierras and the desert. The advantage of hiking southbound on the trail is that when you hit these two areas, it’s cooler, not as many bugs, and the snowpack is manageable. The only disadvantage is the days are shorter so waking up super early is a must. I look forward to hiking Mt. Whitney with my dad which will be the third week of September.
A couple of things I noticed about Cali. The people are super friendly. I havent had too much trouble hitching rides to and from town. A couple even hosted me in their home and fed me and let me use their shower!! Also, the towns themselves are pretty cool. I remember a couple of towns that reminded me of towns back home like Sierra city which has a population of 250. Another wonderful thing is I get to hike a lot with a view. Nothing motivates me more than being able to see ahead.
I just wanted to thank all of the people who support me and follow my blog. I will be finished around the 31st of October. I look forward to attending two PSU football games. I can smell the finish!!!