Day 43-51: The Sierras Part 1

Day 43:
A fellow hiker rented a car and offered to drive us around the new fire closure to Kennedy Meadows. I was kinda dissappointed since I really wanted to try to hike the 50 miles to KM in one day and as you arrive, every hiker greets you with a big applaus.

We got there around noon and it was really full with hikers. That also meant that I saw so many friends again who I havent seen for a long time like the people I hiked the first weeks on the Pacific Crest Trail.
It was also time to gear up for the Sierras. I decided to go as safe as possible so I have now an ice axe (in case I slip down a snow slope), micro spikes (for more traction) and a bear cannister (which is required).
After I finally packed my backpack, it had almost the weight like day one (after a couple weeks I send some stuff i realized i am not using to my friend).
On the positive side, we left the dry sections and have now lots of streams along the trail.

The rest of the day I spent with my friends  and sharing all the stories we had. I also played the first time in my life chess and lost close against my buddy Jack from Australia. I gonna download a book to learn more about tactics 🙂

Day 44:
I wanted really to go back on the trail since I haven’t hiked the last two days. It was also sad to leave my friends again and I wont see them for a while since they are waiting for Jeff, who went home for a couple days.

So I headed out to the sierras, again by myself. It was pretty hard since the pack is heavy again and my legs a bit soft because of the days off. The first miles were still quite dry and not much cover by the trees. I carried only 2l of water with me since there were a couple stream ahead. After a couple hours I realized I drank more then usuall and had the wrong milage noted of the next water source in my hiking plan. I ran out of water abouy 4,5miles before the next source. With my mouth getting drier and drier I decided to hike not to fast and avoid to sweat to much. It was such a relief when I finally saw the small river but the trail was making a slight turn and it took a while till I got there. Because of the fire and people taking some days off at kennedy meadows I met many new hikers who heard of but havent met so far. I camped by myself the first night in the Sierras and was kinda hopeing to see a bear but I had no “luck” yet.

Day 45:
Still not really in the High Sierras, we had to get higher on elevation and luckily the amount of streams along or crossing the trail increased. After hiking 16miles the first day I plannd to do more and finished a long day after 25 miles.
There were many hikers at the campsite since a water source was next to it and I got to know new people again. I also caught up
with 3 german guys I knew from
before.


Day 46:
If I havent mentioned yet, my trail name is “EarlyBird”. And as you can think, I got it because I used to be the first person on the trail and as I left, everybody was still in his tent. 10 miles ahead, the trail passes the first mountain lake, I mean tarn (thanks to Matthew who told how they are actually called) and I was the first hiker there. The sun was already warm and after a couple minutes I jumped into the lake. I took an hour break and as some hiker arrived, I left already.


On the way I met Morning Glory, who as you can think is also a morning person like me 😀 I also heard from her as I met her hiking group who were a bit behind and mising her. She had to leave KM because it was just to crowed and I get that and now after a couple days by herself she is waiting till her friends catch up.

Its really interesting to hear how everyone expierce the trail
and hikes his own hike. Sometimes you want to have people around and sometimes you just need time for yourself.

As it got later I decided to hike till Crabtree Meadows where hiker take the trail off the Pct to climb up to Mt Whitney, the highest mountain of the 48 continues states in america.


As the days before, I got late into camp and just set up my tent and went to bed. I also saw Katja and Von again who I knew since the first day in the Sierras.

Day 47:
At the of this day, I will be as high as I have never been before!
I started later as usual to get to
the base of Whitney since I was a bit tired and exhausted from the day before. As I reached Guittar Lake, I took a break and decided to climb up Whitney in the evening. My plan was to camp on the top to see the sunset/rise.
As I relaxed at the lake, marmots and chipmunks surrounded me. I placed my GoPro on a big rock, left some my trail mix in front and recorded some of them eating the nuts 🙂


Later the day, Lars arrived and he and the other two germans also planned to camp on top Whitney. As we were leaving the lake he stop and looked up to Whitney. The trail goes to the other side of the base, up many switch backs and then along the ridge to the top. He saw another opportunity, going strait up and climb over big rocks. It sounded like a crazy idea but it looked duable so we went up straight. It was quite challenging and risky but after 3-4h we made it to the trail and hiked the last bit to the summit. 


I was really exhausted, especially because I was never that high and it was definetly harder to breath.

It was already 5pm and no hiker was there anymore exept some climbers who took the mountaineering route. Julian and Felix arrived a bit later and after a big dinner, taking fotos we enjoyed the sunset and went back to our sleeping bags since it was gettig cold (how come on 14,000ft/4,400m)



Day 48:
I was expexting a really cold and windy night but we were lucky and it was not to bad. Only the lower amount of oxygen due the high elevation made it hard for me to sleep and I woke up sometimes and had to breath deeply several times. Lars, who also cowboy camped outside said I snorred strangely and I guess that made it even harder.


I set my alarm 1h before the official sunrise time, got up as quick as possible to set up my gopro and find a good spot to sit
and watch the sunrise in my sleeping bag. If makes you feel so small being at top of the highestes mountain. The cold freah air, the quietness made it such a more intense moment and expierence.

After the sun was up we went back down, this time the official trail. On the way we passed serveral hiker who are making their way up to the top and I sas again many friends who left Kennedy Meadows after me.

After being on over 14000ft we had to decent 4000 and head to Forester Pass, which is with 13,500ft the highest point of the Pacific Crest Trail. Lars and I took a siesta before we start the ascent to the pass. In the afternoon we  decided to hike closer to it and arrived around 6pm at the base of it. It was only 300ft more to go but we have to decent on the north side and it would be saver doing it in tve morning when its icy and easier to walk with the microspikes.
This time I decided to set up
my tent which was a mistake since the wind picked up. As i couldnt fix my rain fly since we were on a big rock, it flapped against my inner tent and I almost havent slept.


Day 49:
I thought first to sleep in but around 6 I decided it makes no sense to wait and packed my back. With my micro spikes on my shoes and the ice axe in my hand, I went up the icy snow slop. It was really easy with the gear and after 30min I got the Pass! Having my epic soundtrack playlist playing I felt just great due the impressivness of the moment.


After a couple pictures we startes the decent on the north side where we had more snow. There were some marks of hikers obviously sliding down and using the ice axe and I am happy I have it with me.
Further down we some different tracks and hiker just slide down the slope. I did it first with my backpack on and went two more times up without it. I really wished to have those plastic seat slides with me 😀
The decent was long and as I reached the tree line most of the snow was gone and I found myself in a beatiful forrest with a couple stream crossings.


I was getting tired and felt the tough days in my bones. I knew I an going to leave the trail for resupplying so I pushed myself more. I reached Kears Pass which I had to cross to get to a carpark and hopefull ger a hitch fron day hikers to town. I also had a box at the post office and I wantes to be there beford it closed. I proverbial run down the trail a caught up to a couple who gave me a ride and dropped me 10min before the post office closed.
Since there was not much in Independence, I hitched to Bishop which is 45miles further and stayed at a hostel which is a preffered location of hikers. The rest of the day I did the usuall things in town like laundry, uploading some pictures and eating a burger 🙂

Day 50:
I had finally a good sleep and did all my resupply and other prepartion so i could go bacm on trail whenever i want. I had also to buy new shoes since my next new pair is in a box 400miles ahead my actuall one (650miles on the sole) where to small since your feed start to swollow and grow.
At noon i realized France is playing the opening game of the europe cup and we went to a bar to watch it. In the evening more sport was on and i washed gane 4 of the NBA finals 🙂 more hikers I knew were also coming to town and we went to the local brewery.


Day 51:
I planned to go back ir closer to the trail today but a thunderstorm is making me unsure if I should stay one more day. I have always my trouble at the end of my stay in a town when I should leave. Trying to listen to my body and know if i need more rest, having some fun with friends and enjoy the time in town or should I go back on trail, where I am feeling definetly more free.

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2 thoughts on “Day 43-51: The Sierras Part 1

  1. Just Amazing! So glad you get all these experiences, even though I had to be convinced….

    Too bad I didn’t know you would be sleeping at that altitude: when I hiked up the Mont Blanc the Hut at Dome,du Goûter is around 3700m and I had been given the advice of taking an aspirin before going to bed.
    It was in 1977, so there may be better things now.
    A great read before going to bed!

    Like

  2. Hi there Early Bird! This is Kathy from Idylwild. Just caught up reading your blogs. SO HAPPY to hear you made it up to Whitney and safely over/through Forrester Pass! LOVE reading your blogs and seeing your photos! Keep being safe, have fun and enjoy these moment in time! Big hug to you!

    Like

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