PCT Day 66 – Looking Both Ways!

Started: 07:00 @ MM 882.8 Silver Pass Creek (Elevation 9,792ft)

Finished: 17:25 @ MM 901.1 Deer Creek Crossing (Elevation 9,108ft)

Miles: 18.3

Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,634/-4,311ft

Food: Oatmeal, Belvita, Trail Mix, Granola Bar & PB, Snickers Bar, Beef Stroganoff, Jelly Beans

Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 2, Days since laundry 2

After the horror of Muir Pass, everything seemed easy. Technically Silver Pass wasn’t a difficult ascent, however the sun cups were huge which made walking on the hard frozen snow a little tricky. I tried to figure out the science behind the formation of these bizarre snow craters … I failed but did conclude that it was like hiking across an egg carton!

Struggling across the giant egg carton.
I finally resorted to my SpiderMan shoes after a couple of less than graceful moments. In less than 90 minutes we were at the top and then we weren’t … Silver Pass has a cruel blind summit! When reached the actual climb, much to my absolute delight, we were greeted by a very friendly Mini-Bear and at long last I got my much coverted photo. I scoffed down a Snickers to celebrate the climb and a packet of Jelly Beans (one by one and identifying each flavor) to toast the Mini-Bear. Then it was back to the super snowy north face … I am so over this fuckin’ snow!!
Magnificent Mini-Bear!
Finally we descended below the snow line, hiked about a mile and then started climbing again. It was to be a very up and down kind of day. Lots of short, sharp ascents which, when combined, made it feel like you were climbing for most of the day. At elevations of around 10,000 it was a grueling grind. 
Snow … Im so totally over it!
After Silver Pass I walked alone for much of the day. I had missed my alone time. The High Sierras provide a unique challenge that requires hikers to work as a team. I am blessed to have been part of a great team. I probably couldn’t have done it without them. Not just the crazy creek crossings and the icy traverses … the things that really get you through are the shared experiences, the sense of “family”, the commitment to each other and of course the huge fun!
Looking south and back towards the High Sierra … I hiked over that lot!
The worst (or best, depending upon your viewpoint) of the Sierras was now behind me. Tomorrow I will reach Mammoth Lakes and to my surprise and delight any thoughts I had about skipping the rest of the Sierra are also well and truly behind me. As the trail climbs westward along a high ridge I am able to look back to the south and over the awesome sight of white capped summits that I have crossed.
Looking forward and north … Hopefully less snow in my future!
I pass the 900 mile mark. Unlike in the desert, there is no special marker to celebrate my achievement. Now my conquests are measured in feet not miles. Although I may have passed the toughest physical tests, the real challenges still lie ahead. I haven’t even reached the halfway stage, let alone finish California. From here the trail becomes a very psychological challenge, a real test of mental stamina and endurance … I can’t help but ponder my capacity to endure.

4 thoughts on “PCT Day 66 – Looking Both Ways!

  1. I picked your blog out of the dozens and dozens sharing a persons experience on the trail. The last blog I followed was Carrot Quinns. She wrote a book about her experience. You very well may too.

    I wonder if the challenge is psychological. How we think about things is really mind – cognitive, which has as its major function trying to make sense of what we feel about things. My experience on long section hikes has been the greatest challenge is emotional. The psychological tries to deal with feeling more deeply than ever before – ever before. It’s “feeling” that deepens us as persons and allows us to grow.

    I loved how you were able to say with such definiteness you were going to leave your hike. And then, only a while later, be back in the trip. My experience with emotions is that they go up – this is so fantastic, being on a multi-month hike/experience as peak, and down – man I fucking hurt everywhere and miss everyone and feel so lonely. Up and down, up and down.

    There is a huge difference between being able to experience the up and down of intense feeling and being driven by emotions in the moment. The first is like a stream coursing through. The second is noose that grabs and holds.

    My guess is you already feel deeply, go up and down, and put one foot in front of the other, moment after moment, hour after hour, day after day.

    When I read what you write it seems to me your challenge is to build on where you are – you are in the process of being-in-balance-and-harmony – and use words in your blog to express your process.

    Forgive me if I’ve trespassed in any way. I so look forward to your posts…

    Jeffrey Olson
    Laramie, WY

    Liked by 1 person

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