Miles Hiked: 13.8 over Forester Pass
Camped at: junction of PCT and Bullfrog Lake Trail with Dust Bunny
Just wow. Pretty much all of today had outstanding views and scenery, none more so than the top of Forester Pass, which at 13,200 feet is the highest point along the entire PCT. Mt Whitney the other day being a side trip along the John Muir Trail. Back to today, Forester was awesomely stunning and breathtaking, beyond it’s elevation! I got teary when I joined Dust Bunny and Otto on the summit, and just tried to absorb the entire experience. Otto and Mad Hatter were on the summit with Dust Bunny and I, they are 2 AT alums, and Otto and I are both convinced we met somewhere last year – for some reason a McDonalds comes to mind, and I wasn’t in many of them! Hmmm…..anyway, I leapfrogged with all of them for the rest of the day, including 2 wonderful breaks. The descent down Forester had some snow, and in places it was easier to make your own way down the talus and rocks to where you could see the trail, which reminded me of the Whites, hopping from boulder to boulder. Otto and I had a “fond” time reminiscing about Mt. Madison, which both of us despised. The snow was beginning to get soft by 11am, though thankfully no postholing for any of us. I’ve learned a valuable lesson though – try to get to the passes as soon as possible in the AMs, as I’m less frightened of ice with my microspikes than I am of postholing for hours. A wonderful lunch at a tumbling mountain stream we just all had to chug a liter in order to get water from, and an afternoon break by a mesmerizing waterfall rounded out an unforgettable day in the Sierra. Despite an AT worthy steep rocky ascent at the end of the day, today will live in my memory for the huge granite mountains against the bright blue sky, the amazingly colored glacier lakes, countless waterfalls and streams….and wonderful company. As Dust Bunny mentioned, it was like we were in a live moving calendar. Livin’ the dream for sure :).
The infamous “chute” at the top of the ascent of Forester didn’t have any snow on the trail itself, though it looked like it from both below and above! It was such a spectacle at the bottom of the climb, knowing I was going to the little “v” in the huge cliff before me – rather intimidating though I knew my legs could carry me up there. The switchbacks were amazing! Many many kudos to the trail builders and maintainers – stunning to think how much work went into this section of the trail in particular. On the other side of the pass, I looked up and marveled that I could even have been up there.
Many thanks to Dust Bunny for sharing her pics after my phone again died after taking a few pictures on the pass!