6.4 PCT miles (Miles 788.9 – 795.3)
+ 8 miles of the Kearsarge Lake Trail
Onion Valley TH – Arrowhead Lake
Lakes of magnificent blues, teals and turquoise… flowers in purples, oranges and pinks… streams flowing around every corner… peaks of layered rock jutting into the blue sky… this was all today. It’s so pretty out here.
Aloha dropped us off at our trailhead this morning where we had to climb back up and over Kearsarge Pass to get back to the PCT. Eight miles later we were back on trail and heading towards another huge pass – we’ve got a series of high passes we need to get over through this stretch in the Sierras. They all involve big climbs followed by big decents… at least the few we’ve already done were this way. They take more time and energy, and so far there’s been some tricky footing on all of them. So far we’ve gone over Forester, Kearsarge, and today, Glen Pass. Glen Pass usually has a lot of snow in normal years, and hikers will glissade down some of the snowy slopes – glissading means you basically slide down on your butt. We didn’t have nearly enough snow to give that a try… darnit! Tomorrow we go over Pinchot Pass, which is back up over 12,000 feet again! I love the switchbacks, so I’m excited.
I’m really enjoying the trails out here – they’re really fun with a lot of variety. The loose baseball-sized rocks are kind of tough on the feet, and they sometimes turn underneath my weight causing my body to compensate by twisting one way or another, so that’s a bit of a challenge, but I usually find the bigger rocks that are more stable and try to make short jumps, which is fun. We have lots of layers of switchbacks going up the passes, soft trail through meadows, streams to rock-hop over, and we even had some snow to cross today. One of the things I love most about hiking is how you can dance down the trail, moving your feet this way and that as you navigate rocks and turns and other obstacles. It just feels good.
Right now the section of PCT we’re on shares the John Muir Trail (JMT), and it’s really beautiful. We are seeing so many lakes and they are all different shades of blues and aquas, and they’re crystal-clear. I only wish it were warmer so I could swim in one! Most are higher up in elevation where it’s cooler and breezier, so swimming would be tough. I’ll jump in if I find the right moment though!
I was struggling a little emotionally today, but nothing too deep. I just missed Adam a lot. The last six-day stretch felt like a long time without seeing him, and this one is eight, so I’m going to have to let myself just fall into my surroundings and be happily distracted, which I’m pretty good at doing! I am so glad we planned our trip this way so we could see each other regularly – it’s really enhancing my whole experience out here – as well as our relationship. I feel pretty darn lucky to have his support like I do!
We are camped on beautiful Arrowhead Lake. We filled up on pine nut-flavored couscous with tuna, and I added cheese and potato strings to it. It was really tasty! Our bear canisters and extra food is stowed away in this campsite’s bear-proof box… and a couple set up their tent right in front of it, which I thought was strange. Hopefully no bears investigate anyway, but if one does, I’ll be happy to be a good distance away down the hill.
Tonight I love having enough food to eat. Sometimes it’s the simple essentials that I need to remind myself to appreciate.
I’m seeing some incredible scenery and taking a ton of photos, so here’s a few extras. The flowers out here even look landcaped!