a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 774.7 to 788.5 (+1.5 on Bullfrog Lake Trail). Creek Camp to Creek Camp.
Today is a big day! Finally we are climbing Forester Pass!
We get up, pack together and off we are again. As it is already end of June, most of the snow should be melted by now. Therefore it is also no longer necessary to get up really early to summit at about sunrise to avoid postholing (basically sinking into the snow while walking).
From the “base camp” it is a not so steep climb of about 4 miles until reaching a plateau. But what is this? There is actually a small snow patch left, something we haven’t seen since winter in Switzerland…
But it is easy to cross it and actually fun. As we get closer to the plateau the vegetation becomes scantier and soon we pass the last tree. But it is still beautiful up here! There is still a lot of green grass and on the other end of the plateau we can see these massive mountains, which are pretty close right now.
We wonder which one would be Forester? Maya checks our Navigation App and finds a picture of Forester taken from about the same distance as we are now. And there we spot him. There is a huge, massive rock wall, almost horizontally leading up to a small gap between two mountains. And right below of the gap is still a patch of snow.
Wow! That looks kind of frightening but simultaneously really amazing and cool! What a challenge! How is it even possible to hike almost horizontally up there, we wonder?
As we approach the pass, we can finally see the trail going up. It is a very steep path, which goes up in a zig-zaggy way. But before we reach it, we pass 3 smaller, but oh so blue lakes. Amazing, the water must be just a few degrees above freezing temperature.
And now we start to climb the zig-zag wall. It is hard, but less hard than we imagined it to be. Slowly we gain on height and after 30 minutes we reach the snowy patch we spotted earlier. It covers the whole trail for about 50 meters and if you look to your left it goes down almost 250 meters. Not the best spot to slip on the snow, we both agree and pass the patch very carefully.
And some minutes later we are there, on Forester Pass on 13’153 feet or 4009 meters. What a stunning view we have from there! We take some pictures and spend about 15 minutes at the summit.
After that we start our descent towards the valley, 8 miles further down. Soon we reach a large snow patch and glissade a few hundred meters down the mountain. It is a fun, but also kind of a wet thing.
Shortly after we encounter another snow patch which blocks the trail. But there seems to be a small path leading down the mountain very steeply and joining the PCT again after about half a mile. Ok, we think and take this path. After an easy beginning of descending, we encounter ourselves in the middle of a terrible steep rock wall. There seems to be no path anymore from here and we are unable to go back and hardly able to go further down. What follows is a rather adventurous mountaineering part over big rocks and brutal elevation. But we make it down to the PCT again and are happy nothing terrible happened. Sorry Mums and Dads, but now that we are safe writing this in a library, we can tell you. :-)
From here the rest of the trail down to the valley is not that challenging and very beautiful. We pass lakes, tons of Sequoia trees, blooming flowers, small creeks and lots of squirrels and chipmunks.
As we reach the valley we decide to do another 2.5 miles but all uphill, until be reach the junction to the Onion Valley Trail, which leads over another pass, called Kearsarge, and ends on a parking lot 4.5 miles later. The Onion Valley Trail is not part of the PCT, but the only way out of the Sierras for now to reach our next town stop in Bishop.
But as it is already later in the afternoon and not that easy to get to Bishop from the mentioned parking lot, we decide to pitch our tent not too far away from Bullfrog Lake, 2.5 miles before Kearsarge Pass.
We look forward to the next day, as we really can’t wait to have a nice shower have some good food and sleep in a comfy bed!