Sierra High Route – Day 5 (34 miles)
I got up early. I want to make it to VVR where I’m meeting String Bean tomorrow morning.
It was a cold night and I woke up to a very wet sleeping bag from condensation. I packed up and walked the couple of miles to the valley floor and the Devil’s Postpile National Monument. It is an interesting cliff made entirely from perfectly hexagonal basalt rock.
I continued along the valley and then climbed up towards the ridge. It was a steep climb but for once was on trail and I did not have to work around any obstructions.
I did however walk into the clouds.
Near the top of the ridge I left the trail for a very short cross country section to another trail. This trail followed the ridge.
It was easy walking but I could not see anything around me.
Just before noon the clouds parted. I stopped to eat and dry out my wet sleeping bag. The bag acutely took a really long time. I had plenty of food so I just kept eating.
Once it dries out, I pressed on along the ridge for another 30 minutes until I reached Duck Lake. I then decended down onto the PCT / JMT for the first time this trip.
Bring back on this trail created a bit of nestalga. When I was in this valley a few months before, I vividly remember glassading down the snow. Now I was simply switchbacking on dry trail.
The two routes considered for the next couple of hours as I walked past Purple Lake and Virginia Lake. The SHR then turned up Fish Creek while the PCT continued down Fish Creek.
I stayed on the PCT. I needed to get to Vermilion Valley Resort tomorrow morning and meet up with Spring Bean. He will be hiking the rest of the trail with me.
The trail continued down Fish and then turned up towards Silver Pass. As I neared the pass so much from my last trip came flooding back. Infact, I spent the whole afternoon comparing the differences between tonnes of snow and none. Take the pass for example: last time I glasaded down the steep saddle and walked next to the frozen lake. This time I walked up onto a on knob and then came down onto the saddle.
It was lovely up here. Beautiful blue lakes, huge granite peaks.
It was lovely up here. Beautiful blue lakes, huge granite peaks behind and I was dropping into one of my favourite valleys.
The decent into Mono Valley involved walking down the creek to the treeline and then a granite cliff and waterfall appear. The trail zigzags down next to the waterfall and I got the awesome view up the valley.
Halfway down met an elderly couple, maybe in their late 70. The lady was carrying both their gear as the man was to frail to do so. They both wanted to still be hiking so this was there only option.
I got to the valley and started to head down. I was also starting to get tired. I continued to the head of the lake where I needed to be on the other side tomorrow morning. It was 6 miles to the other side. I hiked for maybe 2 before the sun started to set.
Could I say this was an easy day? Well in comparison to the last few.