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City: Santa Clara
Country: United States
Begins: Apr 17, 2009
Date: Wed, Jun 10th, 2009
Trip Distance: 20.0
Entry Visits: 2,443
Journal Visits: 68,600
Guestbook Views: 9,426
Guestbook Entrys: 116
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Mt. Whitney View
Okay, So I asked the trail gods for clouds in the desert... Which I was granted.
I did not ask for a hail storm in the Sierra every day from dawn to dusk! :-)
Socks and I had a great trip up whitney. It did not matter to us that half of it was in a cloud. I was able to get good photos up till about 13800 feet then the whole world vanished leaving nothing but the snow covered mountain under my feet. The smithsonian hut up top must be one of the loneliest places on earth. Up top we had time to drink the mini bottle of Cooks champagne(Thanks Bonanza Jellybean!) I had brought up. Signed the register and took a couple of foggy photos and then retreat back down the mountain before the worst of the snow started. The journey down was much more fun. Views that went unseen due to the heavy labor of climbing were surreal. Traversing some snow impacted sections was quite a thrill as to fall here would mean a plummet of hundreds of feet into the rocks below. This place is just what you see in movies; a narrow trail blasted out of the rock face, winding among the peaks with impossible exposures. All of it made all the more incredible by the swirling haze made up of hail,snow, and vapor. We can't decide if it was more exiting to have been there amid the clouds or if it had been a clear day!
Forester pass was another exciting day for us. We began by hiking out of Crabtree meadows and out onto the Bighorn Plateau. This is where our sunny morning took an exciting turn. Thunder began to issue from somewhere up on the plateau as we scooted out onto more snow impacted trail. As vulnerable as ants on the wide open snowfield. We began to accelerate our pace as the clouds rolled in from every direction. Crossed Tyndall creek and began to ascend Forester pass on an increasingly snow impacted trail. About half way to the pass the hail began to fall as it had the past two days in a row. We climbed directly up the snowy pass as the switchbacked trail was hopelessly covered. Just about the time I reached the first snow free section about 2/3 the ways up the 13800 foot pass I turned to see how Socks was doing. I saw her about 200 feet down the slope.. and behind her in the distance but closing fast was a huge white cloud rolling in like a wave around Diamond Mesa and up towards us.
That wave reached us just after we summited the pass. We were in a total whiteout. A blizzard of hail and snow enveloped us as we descended the pass along a knife edge ridge. There was no trail to follow just terrain. We kept ourselves warm by hiking fast and eventually found our way down into the valley bottom amid the hail showers. A few miles of cross country and we found the trail again. Eventually ending the day having covered 21 miles and the highest pass in the Sierra in a whiteout. Celebration was had with a campfire down in Vidette meadows where we dried out our soggy gear.
Sent from the Trail on my Peek
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org