Day 49: mile 788.5 – 794.3 (+9 non-PCT miles)
Elevation gain: 4,180 ft
Elevation loss: 2,618 ft
Disclaimer: you are about to see a bunch of ridiculously gorgeous photos in the upcoming posts. You will not think they are real, but I promise you they are, with no filters used! 😁
I don’t know if it was the Nero and then Zero we had, or the fact that we have legs that have now hiked almost 800 miles, but Link and I felt so great today! We were dreading the 5 mile climb from Onion Valley campground since we knew it was such a long trudge (having just done the descent 1.5 days ago). Plus having the heaviest packs yet…10 days worth of food, ugh! But it felt surprisingly good and we made it to the top of Kearsarge Pass in 2 hours after Jim, from the Independence Inn, dropped us off at 7:35. It felt like we were southbound PCT hikers since we got to see a bunch of friends walking toward us to get to Independence as well: Poptart & Quotes, Skipper who we met in Kennedy Meadows, and High Stakes who said, “man, you guys smell good!”. So funny, cuz we can only smell ourselves when it’s no bueno 😬
We then had about 3.5 miles to get back onto the PCT. This was about the spot we thought we would be dead tired and planned to stop early for the day. BUT…it was only 11:15am! How could we make that the end of the day, especially since we were still feeling great.
So we moved on to the next Pass, Glen Pass (11,947 ft), which we have actually already done 2 times in the past, but the opposite direction. So it was pretty cool to see it from a different perspective! We stopped when we had about 1/2 mile from the Pass to have a long lunch at this little lake that we have only seen all frozen over in the past.
We thought we were going to see sooo much more snow than this. The 2 times we went were in the month of July and there was a TON more snow, so weird! We made it to the Pass at 1:35 and it wasn’t crazy windy up there so we thought we would sit and wait for Mantis and Pants to get up there too so we could descend together. They made it at 2:30 which was perfect!
There was only the one really steep traverse right at the beginning of the descent so we all put our micro spikes on just to be safe.
But after that, there were only patches of snow with enough exposed rock for us to be able to descend safely without the micro spikes even on. It was the first time that Link and I have been able to walk the actual switchback trail since there was always too much snow in previous years.
The hike down to Rae Lakes was so nice and uneventful…no self arresting, no saving of others, and great conversation with Mantis and Pants.
We decided to get down to the furthest of the 3 Rae Lakes to make tomorrow’s day a little easier, and we made it to camp by 6pm. This is the most picturesque campsite yet, I think…it truly doesn’t even look real so I hope the pix come out as great!
We are camped with Mantis, Pants and someone new we met today who doesn’t have a trail name yet so we will have to give her one! Plus there’s a bear box which is extremely helpful since there is a whole Ursak bag FULL of over flowing food from the bear cans! We all had dinner together which was super fun 😁
This was the view from the tent when I started to write…spectacular!
And now the alpine glow is starting which is always a treat! It looks like someone came and painted the tops of the mountains orange…one of my favorite things about the Sierra for sure.
Well, tomorrow is another day which means another Pass, so I better get to sleep. I will leave you with the sunset on Fin Dome tonight…amazing! What a great day…thanks for reading! Double Down