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Archive for June 15th, 2006

Destination: Kearsarge Pass Trail
Starting Location: Shepard Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 15.20
Trip Miles: 790.50
Shepard Pass Trail (775.0, 10,930) to Kearsarge Pass Trail (790.2, 10,710) ascent (3,868) descent (4,196) High – Forester Pass (13,180).
Oh my, we are all howling answers to the coyotes just away from our camp & we are laughing like crazy. Now what the hell is a coyote doing at 10,700 with 80% of the ground covered in snow?
What a day! I wanted an adventure & I got one. Today we crossed Forester Pass the highest point on the PCT. The approach was completely covered in snow and we spread out in search of the trail. Ultimately we saw the uppermost switchbacks and we headed up. At one point I put one hiking pole away & deployed my ice axe. Not really needed as we had really good footing on the snow but the added security was nice. Upon summiting we were blown away as the North (shady) slope was 100% covered in snow. In 10 hours we had finally made 10 miles of forward progress. Nearly all of that was off trail. Ultimately we quit even looking for evidence of trail or even looking where it should be. Instead we picked a point (Vidette Meadows) far down canyon & we traversed a course roughly following a mapped drainage. The snow got sloppy soft by 10:30 & we began post holing. I went in so deep once that it took me nearly 5 minutes to dig my foot out. We did some glissading (sliding) down the appropriate slopes & Claudia had us all yodeling & laughing while we worked our butts off getting down the mountain.
We are set up to go over Kearsarge in the morning for a re-supply in Independence. We are camped in a snow-free spot about 40 X 30. About a foot deep of snow is a few inches in front of my tent door. It will be much easier to walk on in the morning. I was in this same location in 2003 within a few days & the area was completely snow free.    The basin near our camp is typically a huge sand area with no vegetation. I could never figure out why. Now I know. An enormous ice dam builds at the bottom of the basin and the area holds a huge amount of snow & then forms an early season lake thus preventing tree growth.
Looking out my tent window is a view into another world. The water for a thirsty California is all around me & we covered areas today where the entire mountain side was pouring water forth. No more treating water for awhile. I simply stop, fill a bottle & drink the purest water imaginable.
It is going to freeze again tonight & as the sun just set the temperature is dropping rapidly.
I did well on my food this leg & ate good. I have about one days food left which is an appropriate amount for delay contingencies.
I will never forget this day. . . it was hard, it was exhilarating, & we did it!
Destination: Kearsarge Pass Trail
Starting Location: Shepard Pass Trail
Today’s Miles: 15.20
Trip Miles: 790.50
Shepard Pass Trail (775.0, 10,930) to Kearsarge Pass Trail (790.2, 10,710) ascent (3,868) descent (4,196) High – Forester Pass (13,180).
Oh my, we are all howling answers to the coyotes just away from our camp & we are laughing like crazy. Now what the hell is a coyote doing at 10,700 with 80% of the ground covered in snow?
What a day! I wanted an adventure & I got one. Today we crossed Forester Pass the highest point on the PCT. The approach was completely covered in snow and we spread out in search of the trail. Ultimately we saw the uppermost switchbacks and we headed up. At one point I put one hiking pole away & deployed my ice axe. Not really needed as we had really good footing on the snow but the added security was nice. Upon summiting we were blown away as the North (shady) slope was 100% covered in snow. In 10 hours we had finally made 10 miles of forward progress. Nearly all of that was off trail. Ultimately we quit even looking for evidence of trail or even looking where it should be. Instead we picked a point (Vidette Meadows) far down canyon & we traversed a course roughly following a mapped drainage. The snow got sloppy soft by 10:30 & we began post holing. I went in so deep once that it took me nearly 5 minutes to dig my foot out. We did some glissading (sliding) down the appropriate slopes & Claudia had us all yodeling & laughing while we worked our butts off getting down the mountain.
We are set up to go over Kearsarge in the morning for a re-supply in Independence. We are camped in a snow-free spot about 40 X 30. About a foot deep of snow is a few inches in front of my tent door. It will be much easier to walk on in the morning. I was in this same location in 2003 within a few days & the area was completely snow free.    The basin near our camp is typically a huge sand area with no vegetation. I could never figure out why. Now I know. An enormous ice dam builds at the bottom of the basin and the area holds a huge amount of snow & then forms an early season lake thus preventing tree growth.
Looking out my tent window is a view into another world. The water for a thirsty California is all around me & we covered areas today where the entire mountain side was pouring water forth. No more treating water for awhile. I simply stop, fill a bottle & drink the purest water imaginable.
It is going to freeze again tonight & as the sun just set the temperature is dropping rapidly.
I did well on my food this leg & ate good. I have about one days food left which is an appropriate amount for delay contingencies.
I will never forget this day. . . it was hard, it was exhilarating, & we did it!
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