August 27, 2014
Today is the first day of school. For the past ten years I have been there and now that I’ve moved on it’s a bit odd.
I am two passes, 13,200 feet and 11,000 feet from my car. Just a few switchbacks away and I’ll be there.
Sitting on my bear canister, as the sun warmed my back I enjoyed my coffee, watching the great western divide come to life. It was hard to leave my perch on the hill but forester pass was waiting 3,000 feet 5 miles up the trail.
I move steadily up the trail accompanied by the sound of my boots crunching granite. In the first three hours of my day I see more people than I’ve seen in the past 8 days. Everyone is going south. But I, I am like a fish going northbound, upstream. It occurs to me that In “regular life” I often feel I’m swimming upstream. But somehow, just like on the trail I manage to go with the flow.
Most of the people I meet today are JMTers, and most having conquered the last big pass are single focused on summiting Mt. Whitney, two days out. I know I was!
There is a small crowd on top of Forester Pass 13,200 feet. It’s fun listening to their stories and taking each other’s pictures. Among the crowd are two young children who are singing and dancing on the small precipice. This is the most entertainment I’ve had in a week and I fully enjoy it.
It’s a long long way down over rough rocky trail. The view down the canyon into Vidette meadow is magnificent. I stop at a swirling swimming hole carved into the rocks and take my afternoon dip and swell down my feet.i have a snack and done fizzy water and I’m good for another 5 miles.
I descend 5,000 feet and then spend the last 1,5 miles of the day climbing up 1,000 feet. On this climb I meet a particularly jovial group and they ask me my name because I fit the description of someone who is looking for me. But it’s not me. The last person in the group says, ” yeah too bad it’s not you because she has an ice cream for you!” I laugh so hard I almost wet my pants. Little does she know that various ice cream jokes among my hiking friends and nephew run rampant.
Finally I get to camp spot and waste no time making my special coffee drink and my spaghetti dinner. It’s fitting that I’m having spaghetti because my legs feel like wet noodles. As I’m eating dinner I notice something red under a nearby tree…of course I go investigate….and I find someone’s tent, clothes and sleeping pad. The question is did they leave them here on purpose while they hiked out for more provisions OR are they 10 miles up the trail setting up camp and frantically tearing apart their backpack?? It shall remain a mystery.
I watch the stars and fall asleep to the lull of the small stream and the aroma of wild onions. Life is good!