August 25, 2014 12 miles
Colby Lake 10,584 to Kern River/high Sierra trail
9,200. Up 2,684 feet down 4,000 feet.
The trail beat me up today. It was a long tough day filled with sweeping vistas, meadows, flowers and waterfalls.
On my way out of camp I saw the two people I had seen yesterday and we chatted for a while swapping stories and contact information. They hiked up to the lake with their headlamps….after I was long asleep.
The day started off with a climb of 1,684 feet to the top of Colby Pass 12,000!
The trail was STEEP and rocky. When I saw the blooming sky pilot I knew I was above 11,000 feet, and I tipped my hiking pole to my pilot friend Kathy.
I came across a vertebrae white washed from the intense sun. I hoped it was from an animal and not from the last person that climbed this pass. On top, the wind howled and the 360 degree view of the Great Western Divide and the Kings-Kaweah Divide was eye popping. ( not to worry, retinas attached!) I also found a leg bone…not sure who left it here.
The trail wasted no time in dropping me back down to the willows, the manzanita and finally the sage brush. I dropped 4,000 feet. Did I mention it was steep? Did I mention it was rocky? Did I mention it was still beautiful?
I met a couple going up and we chatted for a while they are half way through a 14 day extended loop. When they see Cruiser they remark that they’ve been on the lookout for the elusive Sierra moose and now they’ve seen him!
The closer I got to the kern river the more ferns, willows and berry bushes obscured the trail. I was on the lookout for bears…saw lots of fresh bear poop but no bears.
Exhausted and feeling as if my feet are going to spontaneously combust I sit on a rock and have a snack. With the precision that I imagine my doctor used to reattach my retina, I use my multi tool to cut open the wrapper on my chocolate espresso almond butter. Then I carefully insert my spoon and get every last crumb. I smack my lips and happily continue down the trail.
Once on the floor of the valley I decide to hike up 1,000 feet to the next junction and camp. I am now camped above the Kern River and close to one of Shorty Lovelace’s cabin. ( a trapper in the early 1900)