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Sean "Miner" Nordeen
Begins: Apr 17, 2009
Date: Sun, Jun 28th, 2009
Start: Crabtree Meadows
End: Vidette Meadows
Daily Distance: 21
Trip Distance: 787.3
Entry Visits: 485
Journal Visits: 82,765
Guestbook Views: 17,245
Guestbook Entrys: 23
Today would be a very tough day so I got started by 6am. The hiking in the morning wasn't too hard as it was only a few hundred feet of elevation change up and down. I got my feet wet for the first time at Wright Creek fording the creek. When I climbed to Bighorn Plateau, I was overwhelmed by the panoramic scenry of all the snow covered peaks in all directions. I wouldn't have minded camping here if I had the time. I did take a long break here though.
Continuing on, I got my feet wet again (just as they had finally dried out) when I forded Tyandall Creek. I took an early lunch break here to have the energy for the climb ahead. Though the time lost may have cost me. It was here that my climbing started to get more earnest. After passing 11,500ft, I started to hit big patches of snow. The softness of it made me realize that I may be in for a tough time. The trail became harder to follow as it was becoming more and more covered in snow. I passed at least 8 people going the opposite way who told me about the conditions on the other side. At least one I recognized as a thru-hiker who had flipped up north and was hiking back south. Apparently a lot of hikers who were chased out of the Sierras the previous 2 weeks from the unstable weather where doing this. I was starting to posthole in it too. The switchbacks up the granite wall face were sometimes under snow and I sometimes chose to climb straight up the rocks instead of following the trail. The dangerous snow chute near the top was trival as it was only 10 feet across with only a little snow left. I made the pass top around 2:40pm. This is the highest point on the PCT at over 12,000ft (Mt. Whitney doesn't count as it was a side trip off of the official trail).
However, the back side (north side) was completely snow covered. Fortunately there were well defined footprints in the snow to follow, though the long tranverse across the slope was interesting. Fortunately, the snow was firmer then the south side, but I still postholed some; I even postholed up to my thigh a few times and had to crawl forward to get out. A girl was climbing as I was going down and we were able to help each other find the trail (she knew where it entered the snow and I knew how to get her up the to the pass).
I dropped out of the snow around 4pm and took a 30 min. break to dry my feet out. They were completely pruned and had been damp almost all day due to the fords and then the snow. I headed down and decided to Camp at Vidette Meadows as it had a bear locker and would be close enough to Kearsarge Pass to make it a short day. My ankles are sore from hitting submerged rocks as I postholed in the snow.
A Walk North On The PCT - 2009
One small step for man, but I'll walk even farther for a burger.
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. Join the PCTA to support this trail.
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