Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pacific Crest Trail 2009 ~ Part 11

Mather's Pass, with its fairly vertical ascent can look a little scary, but by crossing the passes in warmer afternoon temperatures, the snow is easy to kick into.  We followed essentially the same route that everyone before us took.  I would kick the holes a little deeper and at an angle sinking downward so that Stacey felt more comfortable following below me. 

I was actually wearing a running sandal with a water proof sock that I would wear on occasion for the first 1000 plus miles of the journey. The toes and my arch would get a little cold especially when the sun wasn't out.  But it was what I wanted to experience and it was all fine.  There were no views from the top of the pass and we couldn't even see the easiest descent down since it was snowing on us.

Some people took ice axes and even crampons to attach to their shoes.  I had hiked this same route in 1997 and knew that such items were unnecessary if approached under the proper conditions.  The snow can be for sure a little icey in the mornings, but one can usually time how one approaches the higher snowy elevations.  The ice axe seems almost silly to us.  You can actually just invite the kid within and slide down the slopes on purpose.  Some places, one would not want to do this because there are too many rocks to crash into.  But sinking into the snow with every step was pretty self assuring for most who ventured this way.

We descended the very switch backy Golden Staircase to Palisade Creek and eventually to the Middle Fork of the King's River.

This was indeed a paradise in the heart of Kings Canyon National Park where all eyes could find beauty. Waterfalls were cascading down the mountain slopes everywhere.  The vegetation couldn't be any greener. My heart was open fully to this wonderland.

Then it was time to ascend about five miles through snow to Muir's Pass.  This section had the most snow, but was the easiest and gentlest pass that a hiker could experience through these rugged mountains.

From the above photo you could see that the higher slopes were releasing the snow in some minature avalanches.  It was fun hearing how they rumble with excitement.

Reaching the top of Muir's Pass, one can find refuge in Muir Hut built by the Sierra Club.  The stone work was amazing and has withstood the test of many hard winters.

On the right side of the photo you can see a Marmot.  Both she and a pika were not very shy about wanting some of our grub.  There isn't much to eat up this high at this time of the year, but they must know that the hikers always seem to leave something seemingly invisible to feast upon.

Having reached the top of Muir Pass, we then had a gentle five mile decline through snow and ice to the much talked about Evolution Valley and its eventual crossing over Evolution Creek.  The rugged mountains of Kings Canyon National Park have now been essentially completed and accomplished.  However, more snow capped passes were soon to come as we approached our exit and resupply point of Red's Meadow and Mamoth Lakes.

It is virtually impossible to convey in pictures and in words what one feels as we are immersed in a grand network of wild elements that allows us to call each step home, as long as we are relaxed and consciously interacting with each moment.  Nature respects us as we are aware and participating in the process of making our next move.  We truly get what we wish for in the experience of our making. When we want to feel connected, then our senses work for us to make such an intention come true.  We feel that everything is watching us with care, and is alive, witnessing with excitement our personal adventure of Spirit.


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