Day 40 – Pacific Crest Trail (20 miles)
My alarm goes off at 4 am again.
The snow is sun cupped, where melting forms depressions in the snow up to a foot in depth. I don’t find it particularly hard to walk on when the snow is hard, but I have to look at my feet.
Just after 5am we came to our first ford of the day. It was straightforward and only mid-shin deep, but it was freezing and the early hours did not help warm me up.
As I waited on the other side for Wolf to cross, I looked back at Glen Pass. It was stunning, with golden morning light falling on the granite peaks either side of where we came.
One of my trekking Z-Poles broke. It looks like one will have to do.
About halfway I realised how burnt the back of my legs was. The triple threat of a hot sun, altitude and reflective snow have taken their toll. I put on my wind pants and, now that I have a free hand, opened my umbrella.
It turned out to be the easiest pass we have completed so far. We followed a ridge very close to the top and then traversed a somewhat steep snow slope.
The other side was even gentler, and we progressed down without any concerns.
At the bottom of the valley awaited an unknown river that is renowned for being a difficult ford.
When we finally got there, the river was raging. We started heading upstream and quickly found a spot where the river divided itself in two. This was our opportunity.
The first divide had a tree fallen under the water. I got into the water just upstream of the log. It was above my waist but the water was almost still. This made a cold but easy crossing.
We pressed on so that we could summit as early as possible so that the snow is hard and more secure.
This valley was totally snow covered. And 1.5 hours later we still had not found a dry spot to sleep. Eventually we found an exposed rock outcropping. It was tiny and did not really have space for two, but it would be warmer.
For some reason, I still have a lot of energy at the end of the day. Hopefully this continues!
Today was not as glamorous as the preceding few but it was still stunning. It was also the first day where we saw no other hikers.