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.