Thursday, September 23, 2010
Destination: 5.5 Miles south of Muir Pass
Cumulative Miles: 2382
Last night was cold, but not as unbearable as we expected. Our bags kept us warm through the night. The tent was covered in frost. We packed up and set out for our two mile climb up and over Mather Pass.
The ascent up the pass was fairly easy, but crossed a steep rock chute. After witnessing the rock slide last night, we were a little uneasy. We made the climb with greater ease than the previous passes, as we are finally getting adjusted to the higher elevations.
So far this pass has been one of the most beautiful passes we have gone over. However the descent was quite difficult. The initial descent took us past the Palisade Lakes crossing massive slabs of granite, with rocks aligned to direct us where the trail was. Then we hit a grueling descent over talus. The trail lost nearly 2000 feet in elevation over two miles.
We eventually emerged in a valley rich with the aromas of dirt and trees, ferns and Southern California forest. The sun had worked up a fierce heat rivaling yesterdays abundant cold air. We dried out our tent over lunch, and continued our hike towards Muir Pass. Ultimately we were aiming to stop a few miles shy of the pass, but we met some section hikers who had a great campsite, and a fire.
We decided that camping at a lower warmer elevation would be nice, and a campfire and company would be nicer. We ate dinner and talked around the campfire with Jim and Ryan. Ryan hopes to do the PCT some day, so he was full of questions for us. We were happy to share many of our stories with him.
Tomorrow morning we have a 2700 foot climb up to Muir Pass, the last pass over 12,000 feet for us.
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