Day 62: mile 990 – mile 1010.2
Elevation gain: 3,852 ft
Elevation loss: 1,663 ft
I can’t believe we have walked 1,000 miles of California so far! We actually hiked this part of the PCT in 2015, saw their 1,000 mile marker, and took a pic with it. And here we are…now we can say we earned this pic!
Today was finally sooo much better than the last 2 days. The ascents and descents weren’t so steep with much more manageable trail conditions. We didn’t know what to completely expect today, however, plus wanted to break down camp before the mosquitoes woke up. So we set the alarm for 5:30 and only had a few stragglers flying around for the first couple hours. The early morning light always makes the pix turn out pretty neat.
The trail was so mellow today that we decided to try and make it 6.5 miles to Dorothy Lake before having breakfast. The Lake was stunning and we would’ve loved to sit and relax but the mosquito population was at an all time high there. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard what a gigantic swarm of mosquitoes sounds like, but we have only one other time (that infamous Sunrise trip)…and today at Dorothy Lake. It sounds like a high pitched swarm of bees. Crazy to think how many thousands of those little buggers are needed to make that noise…disgusting! So Link grabbed water quickly and we walked just another .3 to Dorothy Lake Pass (9,526 ft) hoping there would be more wind, which = less bugs! As we were leaving the Lake, we also heard the familiar cry of a bald eagle! We’ve seen them a lot in Big Bear, but never out here. Man, are they majestic…he was too far away for a good pic, but it was super cool just seeing him here!
We were able to eat breakfast at the Pass with a little more relaxation, but not much. Constantly smacking each other to kill as many mosquitoes as possible before they took any of our blood.
Dorothy Lake Pass marked the end of Yosemite National Park and we had heard the trail went back to normal as well as the number of mosquitoes, so we were anxious to find out. Our intel was very good because both were correct! We were able to make good time before lunch, putting in 14 miles by 1:00, when we stopped at a stream before the last climb of the day. We had 5 miles of a nice, gradual ascent toward Sonora Pass…just the way we like it! No snow on the trail, but since we were climbing to over 10,000 ft, the amount of trees also diminished which made for a very stark landscape.
We were on our last mile of the main ascent when we had a choice to make…take the super long and gradual switchbacks or take the trail that was much more steep but shorter. We decided to just get it over with and take the short, steep approach and I’m not sure that’s always the best decision. Harder work but shorter length, or less work and it might’ve taken longer…who knows which is best. We were fueled by the idea of cell service at the top that Rabbit had mentioned on the Guthook app.
We got to the end of that climb, but it wasn’t the official Sonora Pass yet…that comes tomorrow. But we walked a little further to the top of the ridge and found out we DID have cell service! Oh happy day…we were able to download pix to the blog and schedule them to go out one a day through WordPress (love that feature!). After 1.5 hrs of downloading pix, we noticed 3 Backpackers walking our way (not PCTers) and then 2 more soon after that. We knew the flat tent spots were pretty scarce in the next mile so we thought we should hustle to make sure we had a spot before they were all taken. We were probably only 100 yards away from our cell service spot when I realized I had left my sunglasses on the rock! I’ve never left anything anywhere before but we were in a rush. So I dropped my pack and literally ran back up the shale to grab them so we could quickly move onto the tent site…phew! That would’ve been a rough week without those! We had just 1 more mile to a possible flat spot that was supposed to be sheltered behind some trees. We were hoping that info was true because the wind had really picked up. We had to walk off trail a bit, but found a lovely, sheltered spot where you can’t feel the wind AT ALL, crazy! These little tree/shrubs might be small, but they are mighty in protecting us from the wind. The best part…NO MOSQUITOES, not ONE!!! It’s crazy that something so little can cause so much havoc, but it’s like we are on constant alert when they are around. Scanning each other, ourselves, and not being able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
After dinner, we decided we wanted to try and finish downloading pix so that we don’t have to do any of that tomorrow when we take a Nero in Kennedy Meadows North. Our friend Amy and a couple of her friends are meeting us at the trailhead so they can take us to pick up our resupply box plus hike and camp with us one night…it’s going to be so fun! So Link and I walked about 1/4 mile back up to the ridge for cell service again and finished everything before the most amazing sunset!
What a great day…really looking forward to eating, a shower, eating, laundry, and more eating tomorrow! Thanks for all of ur super supportive comments after my little meltdown on the trail a few days ago! As always, we look so forward to hearing from u guys! ♥️ Double Down