Day 47 – Pacific Crest Trail (30 miles)
I got up early this morning to try and find a crossing of Return Creek. The group that turned around yesterday could not find one.
The easiest way was to head to the summer crossing and start heading up hill, and of course the creek was raging.
It was fairly straight forward to follow the creek uphill, with wide open space and no undergrowth.
As I continued up, the creek got steeper, the water got faster and it became harder to cross. I wondered how much elevation it would take to find a safe location?
I hiked for an hour, with no luck. I began to get worried. I only had enough food for a few days. If I had to go around each creek like these last two I would not make it!
After 2 hours I still had not found a suitable crossing! Should I turn around?
I hit the snow line and kept on heading up. 2.5 hours after I started the creek had eased off enough that I could pass. It was still waste deep, but was easy enough.
I sat on a log and eat morning tea. I also was in heavy thought about what I should do. At the pace I was going I would not have enough food to make it to town. In addition to that problem, the water level was increasing hourly in this incredible heatwave.
I had no option but to turn around. I could not believe how angry I was. I really wanted to make it through. I only needed another 30 miles and the fords would ease of considerably.
Kicking the ground and swearing a few times, I turned south and headed back the way I had come.
I passed Return Creek and Mcabe enough at the locations I found previously.
I lost my drive and trudged along instead of hiked.
I reached the bottom of the valley where it met Tuolumne River. I was not going to cross the bridges again – that was too dangerous last time and the water level had gone up.
I turned left instead. I needed to cross one creek and I would be home free. However as I approached I saw that the bridge had been washed away over the winter.
At the bridge location the water was slow moving. I thought I would try wading across. I started in and after a few yards I fell into a hole way above my head.
Totally drenched, I turned back.
I then began to head up stream. Hopefully this would not be like the last couple of creeks. But as I climbed, the gradient and therefore the water speed increased.
I looked at the map and noticed that the creek split into two forks just ahead of me. When this happened, the water volume halved but its speed ment it was still unpassable.
About 30 minutes later I found a log over the stream and went across. 1 down, 1 to go!
I then headed for the next stream and when I arrived I started heading up. This time it only took 20 minutes to find a log crossing.
When I turned around this morning I was annoyed, now I’m just happy to have no more creek crossings between me and civilisation.
I continued on to Tuolumne, and then turned onto the Yosemite Valley Trail. At least I will finish the John Muir Trail.
I have decided to take two weeks off and then return to try again.