Kearsarge to Red's Meadow.

Posted on: Wednesday June 29, 2016 Pacific Crest Trail

This post was written in my sleeping bag at the end of a long day. Please excuse any errors.

kearsarge-to-reds-meadow The Sierra are defined by high snowy passes, calm green meadows, raging rivers, and deep hunger. I have never been truly hungry in my life before, and it shocks me as it builds, until the hunger is like an animal living deep inside of me.

kearsarge-to-reds-meadow In Bishop, I run around like a crazy person, buying food and gear. New shoes, a new puffy, and then I am ready to go. We catch the shuttle back to Independence as the temperature rises, the driver blasting the Jurassic park theme song. Then it takes forever to get a hitch to the trailhead. I’m feeling sick and it is late. We make it two miles and camp in a cave on the shore of a lake. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow And then we climb. Up over Kearsarge Pass, on our way to Glen. We’ve heard so many bad things about this pass - it is the sketchiest on the PCT, there is a steep snow field with a bad run out, it is icy, we are going to die. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow We scramble up loose rock where the trail is covered by snow, past high Alpine lakes. And then we are on the crest of the pass, looking at the snowfield we were warned about. Sure, you’d fall a long way, but the trail is basically a trench through the snow. I cross carefully, ice axe in hand, and then it is over, and we are scrambling down rock and snow to Rae lakes below. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow There’s a certain pattern you have to follow on this section of trail. Almost every day there is a high pass you must hit, and then get down below snow line to camp. Some passes you should hit early, to avoid postholing. Others are better late, when there is no ice. It is almost impossible to set up each pass perfectly, although we try our best. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow The next pass is Pinchot, and it is a long struggle. We climb almost all day, then drop quickly after the thankfully almost snow free pass. Then we are running for King’s River, which we have heard can be a difficult crossing. Spears tries the Ford first, and only makes a few steps before turning back. The end of the day is the worst time for fords, so we turn to the sketchy log crossing upstream. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow Patience and Shake’nBake run back and forth across, ferrying bags and poles. Then it is time to cross. I inch along the log, staring at the water rushing below. Finally, I am safe on dry land again. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow Muir is the pass of the day, and it is another long climb. I get a head start on my friends, and they catch me just below the snow line. We stick together as we cross an ice bridge, then it is a long snowfield to the top. Right before the pass, the snow gets steep, and we kick steps to the hut. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow The slope on the other side is gentle, but we have three miles of postholing until camp. Camp for the night is a lake and we cowboy on the shore, watching the stars pop out as the jagged peaks are reflected in the water below. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow It’s a long haul to Seldon, the next pass and we plan to camp high, after the bulk of the climb, but below the pass itself. Between us and the pass is Evolution Creek, a difficult ford. Shake’nBake and I are a little ahead of Patience and Spears, and ask the southbound JMTers how the crossing is. We are told it is fine. Patience and Spears do the same to others, and are told to take the high water alternate. We chose a bad line through the river and the water rises over my hips, but then we are through safely and heading for the start of the climb to Seldon. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow We start to climb up and I am irrationally upset about everything. I am slower than everyone else, the bugs are bad, I am not having fun. I am about ready to cry from the unfairness of it all before I realise I am more hangry than I have ever been before in my life. I stop and eat dinner and realise how empty my bear can is getting. We had planned on going straight through to Mammoth without stopping at VVR, but I am so, so hungry. A few switchbacks up, I find Shake N Bake looking guiltily at his bear can after eating tomorrow’s lunch. Looks like our stomachs have made our resupply decision for us. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow Seldon is an easy pass, and we cross Bear Creek, a difficult ford, without incident. And then we are running down Bear Ridge, to make VVR for dinner. I eat a massive steak dinner and five minutes later my stomach rumbles. A grilled cheese, banana, and half a plum later and I am finally satisfied, if not full. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow It takes a while to leave in the morning, and we climb Silver, our last pass before Mammoth, in the heat of the day. We cross a valley and climb up to camp high on a mountain, passing Bear Bait, who we haven’t seen in a few days. In the morning, we pass Chips and Guac. Almost all of our friends are back together again! We hike down towards Red’s Meadow as a thunderstorm rolls in, making it to safety in the restaurant as the hail pours down. kearsarge-to-reds-meadow

Blogs by Category

Eloise Robbins (Fun Size)

About the Author

Eloise Robbins (Fun Size) is a writer, triple crown thru hiker, and adventurer. She is a lover of the outdoors, hiking, canoeing, and most of all mountains.

Thank you for your comment! It has been received and should show up here once it's approved.


None yet

Copyright © 2016-2021 Eloise Robbins; All rights reserved