Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The High Sierras

I should have posted this awhile ago but better late than never.

Miles  1635 to 1950

I was so excited as I entered the High Sierras even though the weather was less than ideal. I'd dreamt about being here in this place for a long time and it was really good to finally be here. It actually felt like the weather was greeting us with its hail (like confetti) and then snow and wind as if it was showing  us what it could be like here. 

Hiking up to Dorothy Pass and entering Yosemite National Park was another monumental moment. And it was so beautiful to sit along Dorothy Lake for a break and enjoy the amazing scenery.

My pace slowed here and soon it became apparent that this rugged section was going to  wear me out! It's true that my legs are stronger now and I can just hike straight up any mountain but when there isn't enough air in my lungs I begin to fall apart. I got dizzy, woke up with headaches and just felt like I had less energy. In short I was exhausted!  The daily mileage slowed a little and I started to wonder what was wrong with me. I was in such a beautiful place but just getting through a day was an effort. 

Getting off the trail to go to Mammoth Lakes turned into our first end of season road closure experience requiring us to walk out to the nearest open road and try to hitch from there. In town we met a trail angel who treated us to an amazing green curry meal before taking us back as close to the trail as she possibly could.  As we put more miles in the landscape became more beautiful. Kings Canyon was gorgeous! And every single day I spent there will be cherished but I was happy to leave. I think places like this deserve fresh eyes and fresh legs.  Being a thruhiker in this section, I felt like I was just rushing through rather than enjoying this beautiful place.  The trees here are amazing! The mountains overwhelming and the many, many lakes in the remotest of places were surprising. I will definitely come back to the Sierras. 

Hiking southbound was a definite advantage here as we started with the lower more manageable passes and worked our way up to Forester Pass at 13,153ft. As a bonus we hiked out at Whitney Portal and had not only breath taking view but also got to deal with snow and ice one last time on this trail. 

At Lone Pine we tried to eat at just about every place in town trying desperately to get as many calories into us as possible. This town has epic views of the mountains on either side and a rich history of movie making and mining. Now it is mostly a tourist town as the main entrance to the John Muir Trail and to Mount Whitney (the highest summit in the contiguous US). As I hiked down and out of the Sierras and said goodbye to Sequoia National Park it was sad to leave.but I am sure I will be back to this magical place one day!

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