Day 38: Mile 704.6 to mile 729.6 (25 miles, 40 km)
What a great day. To finally be in the mountains is a welcome change. The transition from desert to mountains was immediate. All day there has been flowing water around every two miles, except for the high peaks but there is still water around. Trees abound and shade is plentiful. And conditions are cool. No more running from the sun in the afternoon.
One huge climb for the day, up to 11,000 ft. Most of the South Sierra will be above 10,000ft. The trail was in great form and made for a relatively easy climb. It just took some time adjusting to the altitude.
My pack is the heaviest it has been and it took all day to get use it. I can certainly feel the added weight of a bear can, ice axe, micro spikes, extra layers and 9 days of food. On the plus side I only really had to carry one litre of water at a time. The weight was exhausting and I didn’t take many photos at all.
Getting up high the views were amazing. My heart skipped a beat when rising over a top to finally catch a real glimpse of the Sierras in all their glory. Jagged, snow capped peaks filled the horizon. I’ll be up there soon. In a day or two.
I’m planning to climb Mt Whitney as well. It’s off the PCT but only a 15 mile round trip and is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. When else am I likely to be this close and in peak physical condition? It’s a no brainer.
Towards the end of the day the trail passed through several alpine meadows. The bright green grass a huge contrast to the bleak desert colours. Grassy paddocks with lush grass ringed by the sharp granite peaks and scattered trees. Amazing stuff.
I’m trying to slow down in the Sierras and not push too big a days. I have a plan that will see me do around 20 miles a day, as well as climb Whitney and have sufficient food to get through to my next resupply at Muir Trail Ranch with the idea of staying in the mountains for as long as possible and not having to bail to town for a resupply mid way through.