Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pacific Crest Trail 2009 ~ Part 13

From 10,900 foot Silver Pass, we descended through sinking and softening snow. After a mile of hiking I could see a junction sign sticking out of the snow.  I had noticed other hikers foot prints going in the wrong direction towards another valley to the west.  We were to travel slightly east to Sqauw Lake.  It turns out two seperate hikers at different times took the wrong turn that particular day and had an additional round trip of four miles to take to get back to the offical trail.   The photo above was taken from Tully Hole the next day.

In the distance was Yosemite National Park.  But today we were to finally enter the perimeter of civilization at Red's Meadow next to Devil's Postpile National Monument.  Here we found ourselves the opportunity to have dinner at a restaurant before taking an empty Bus up to Mamoth Lakes the next day.  We heard a story from other hikers who took this shuttle when the bus was crowded with tourists.  The squimish one's had to hold their breath and plug their noses at the curious aroma's that the hikers had built up since their last showers a week or more ago.  We spent two nights at a Motel 6 where dozens of hikers were resting and resupplying to begin their next leg towards Tuolmne Meadows.  Mamoth Lakes had everything a hiker could imagine including free bus service throughout the local community.

It was now June 24th and it was summer time.  We were beginning to see more foot traffic from section hikers coming into the high country to go fishing and to enjoy the grandeur that Nature has to offer.  We also came across Ancient Brit, a thru hiker from England who we first met at Kennedy Meadows.  When he rests, he is known to take off his clothes and drink tea in the sun absolutely nude.  I am sure he delivered some shock treatment to the weekend hikers in search of the freedom that Ancient Brit apparently found.

Here at Thousand Island Lake we were entertained by an Osprey that caught a fish to bring back to its nest.

It was now mosquito season and certain areas at certain elevations were swarming with these pesky little creatures.  It seemed like a productive year for them too.  We were to deal with mosquitoes and their attacks frequently on and off into Oregon.  In some places you couldn't sit still too long because they would propel a hiker forward to keep moving. Some of these insects didn't seem to know what insect repellment was supposed to do.

This is a view from Donohue Pass at the southern border with Yosemite National Park.

At Tuolumne Meadows we added to our supplies to trek the next 140 miles to Echo Summit above Lake Tahoe. There must have been about 15 thru hikers enjoying the additional calories from a fresh breakfast.  In places like these, its interesting to see everyone bottle-necked together, because once you are out on the trail, you may not see anyone for hours or even days.  In the back country we often seem to be evenly spaced out.

In Yosemite, one often comes in contact with mule trains resupplying back-country camps where those who want to have it all can have it hauled in by mules and horses.

The Tuolumne River and Tuolumne Falls were nothing less than perfect.  Yosemite has some of the best waterfalls in the region because the water is often cascading down smooth granitic rock.

Then as if we opened a secret door we found ourselves on the old Tahoe Yosemite Trail.  It was as if only Pacific Crest Trail hikers could see this door and walk into a mosquito buzzing world.

We felt envigorated by everything. One's senses come alive as if they had been dormant for life-times.  Hiking everyday feels totally natural as if the body were designed to migrate and explore.  When one begins to ease into living in the outdoors for months at a time, one feels compelled to rejoin the rhythms of Nature at every opportunity.  When you taste freedom, there is no going back into an isolated cell of our own personal making and choosing.  There is only expansion to savour and enjoy.


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