From Bighorn Plateau, one gets the feeling they are in alien landscape. One is both in the mountains, but is also in the desert, even though we are surrounded by melting snow.
The skies are bluer than any blue ever seen above. The air is crisp, the scenery is sharp, and one's personal senses are extremely alive and active.
In such landscapes, the trees even seem to flow like rivers. Lodgepole pines and Foxtail pines accent a unique panarama. Close by is Mount Whitney which is the highest peak in the lower 48 states; standing 14,491 feet tall. The world here truly feels ancient.
In comparison to 1997, when I last crossed Tyndall Creek, this slosh through freezing water was easy. In 97' at this time of the year around June 10th, the water crossing was much more extreme. Conditions vary even within a days time. Morning crossings are gentler than afternoon crossings since by the afternoon, much more snow is in the process of melting from the higher slopes.
Shepard's pass is up this valley, but our route takes us to the 13,180 foot Forester Pass. It's the highest point on the PCT.
At these higher elevations, one often has to play hide and seek with the hidden snow packed trails. One may have to hike anywhere from two to five miles across snow to reach the top of any given 11,000 to 13,000 foot pass.
If one's navigational skills are poor, one can usually follow older foot prints left in the snow. However, these can be covered up at any time with the snow showers that fall often at these higher elevations. It's always good to know where you are. Here we can finally see the pass we are to traverse.
This photo from Forester Pass is of the valley we just hiked up. It seems much further down than it did looking up in the last photo. Perspective of the landscape is always shifting with our ever-changing positions. No two steps are ever the same.
Once on top of Forester pass, we want to experience it for a life-time. We are now offically in Kings Canyon National Park.
We are now to descend into the most rugged scenery one can experience along the entire length of the trail. The sculpted Granite is a work of Art that can never be duplicated. It is a vast wilderness that touches one's very essence to the core of their Being.