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Official completion of my PCT hike @ PCT/Bishop Pass Jct
We were unsure of how far we would make it today. We needed to follow the Palisade Creek for a little over a mile, losing another 400', then climb about 750' feet in 3.5 miles along the Middle Fork Kings River, before turning off the PCT and onto the Bishop Pass Trail.
The sun hitting on the hilltops above Palisade Creek was gorgeous, and the water was fabulously breaking over the rocks in the Middle Fork Kings River. It was a beautiful morning. Still, for me, the best part was reaching the PCT/Bishop Pass Trail Junction, at 8:20 AM. I let out quite the "whoop" when I arrived there. It was the point I officially completed the entire PCT, from the US/Mexico border to the US/Canada border. I was pretty excited!
I celebrated with my morning Clif Bar and some water, then began the climb up Bishop Pass. When we had returned to the PCT via Bishop Pass in 2016, the pass had a LOT of snow. Today, we crossed one patch of snow. When we had climbed up from South Lake in 2016, we didn't climb any horse-sized stairs; we just walked on top of the snow. Today, we struggled with those big stairs on both sides of the pass.
Still, both times over Bishop Pass have been spectacular. Jagged mountain tops surround LaConte Canyon, and the water gushing down the canyon is refreshing. If it weren't for the horse-sized stairs, the climb to Dusy Basin would be delightful.
Once in Dusy Basin, the meadows, streams, and lakes all combine to make a very peaceful setting. Dusy Basin was also the place we needed to make a decision: Shall we stop here for the night or shall we to go over the pass and out? We decided to keep going.
The trail continuing to the top of the pass was reasonably gentle. As we approached the top, the sky to the east got dark, and we could hear the thunder on the other side of the ridge. We hustled to reach the top, take a couple of pictures, and start our trek down the other side. As soon as we crossed the summit, we donned our rain gear, sent Resupply Guy a message saying we were coming out and scurried off the top of the mountain as fast as we could. That wasn't very fast, as there were a lot of those very tall steps, and a CCC crew was working on the switchbacks of the trail. There had been quite the rockslide on that portion of the trail. The sad part is, there was an entire herd of deer caught in the falling rocks. Their broken and twisted bones and hair were thick in this area. The smell was horrific!
Once off the switchbacks, we were able to enjoy the scenery. The lakes, the colors of the rocks, the mountains, and the reflections of the mountains in the lakes, all make the 13-mile trek across the 12,000' Bishop Pass worthwhile.
When we reached the trailhead at South Lake, Resupply Guy and Resupply Canine greeted us. Resupply Guy met us with Subway sandwiches, and Resupply Canine met us with a wagging tail. Both were very welcome.
That concludes my hiking until mid-August. I will be going home to meet with my son & his family, who will be up for a visit. Gadget Girl will return to Ashland and continue her hike north to Hwy 138, just north of Crater Lake. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the smoke doesn't make that segment unbearable.