a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 788.5 to 794.3 (7.5 on Kearsarge Trail Pass and 5.8 on PCT. Gilbert Lake Camp to Rae Lakes Camp.
Today is Simon’s birthday and sadly, also the day we have to say goodbye to him. After we’ve packed up all our stuff we settle on a large rock overlooking Gilbert Lake and have our breakfast there. Again, first breakfast after town is always a good thing because we still carry fresh food such as tomatoes, avocado etc. After about an hour we decide it’s time to go and start climbing Kearsarge Pass. Again. This time, and from this side, it’s worse. The about 3 miles are taking forever and after a while we can’t spot Simon anywhere. Poor fella, he probably got lost again somewhere. ;-)
We reach Kearsarge Pass and still no Simon in sight. He shows up after about 20 minutes and true story – he did get lost again and followed another trail for about 2 miles. How? Why? Simon!!! Anyway, we are glad he’s here and lend him Dario’s phone to make some calls to his family since his phone isn’t working up here. While he runs around the top looking for the best reception and shouting “Mum, Mum, can you hear me. Yes, yes, I can hear you, can you hear me?” in the phone, we play with the little chipmunks who try to get bits and pieces of our snacks. Because, yes, we are already snacking again. Hiker hunger. It’s a thing.
After a more or less successful call to Simon’s mum we hike our last mile together. And then the time has come to say goodbye to Simon. His company will truly be missed. He really added so much to our hike in the last couple of days and we really hope to see him again in Europe!
So now it’s only the two of us again. We chat all the way back to the PCT and are both excited to finally get back on trail for the probably most physical week yet. In the next 8 days we will be climbing 8 mountain passes. It’s gonna be soooo tough but so beautiful we’re sure. The first pass is coming up right then and there. Glen Pass. It’s 10,544 feet (3,214 m) in altitude and we feel every step we take. It’s quite brutal actually. It seems as though we are no longer used to the thin air up here after having been back down in the desert for 2 days. But eventually we get there and are rewarded with the most terrific view. There are also some clouds – something we are not used to after 2 months of constant sunshine – which make for even better and very dramatic photos. It’s already past noon by now and we want to get back down as far as possible because you never know how the weather can develop up here and to be stuck in a storm up on a pass, hmm, we’d rather not try that out. So back down we go, the terrain is very rocky and it’s not exactly comfortable to walk on. I pity everyone who crosses our paths. These poor hikers have quite a climb ahead of them and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes now. The landscape around us becomes greener now, many streams are flowing around us and as a consequence, many mozzies are flying around us. This makes us descend faster because the faster we go the harder it is for mozzies to dock themselves onto our skin.
We know that some lakes will come up soon and sure enough, here they are around the next corner. The Rae Lakes. They are absolutely stunning and make me want to jump into the water. We decide on a camp spot and hike there quickly. After we’ve set up our tent, we do get halfway into the water to wash ourselves. It’s freezing cold and again, we have to be quick to not get eaten alive by the insane amount of mosquitoes everywhere.
Dinner consists of Hoernli with fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It deserves a special mention in this blog because in my opinion this was our best dinner yet. I am so lucky to have the best chef doing the PCT with me. I don't know whether we already mentioned it, but Dario know goes by the trail name "Ratatouille". Fits perfectly.
So this was the first pass. It sure was hard. But taking a look at the map in Guthook, it is not gonna get any easier in the next couple of days. But I guess we will get used to it and get better at it. But for now, let’s go to bed and get some rest.