a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 794.3 to 808.6. Rae Lake Camp to Lake Marjorie Camp
We sleep in a little bit today and get up at 7am. What a nice spot we found to camp at! Now in the morning light the Ray lakes and the surrounding mountains look even more gorgeous than the day before.
From our campsite the trail leads another 5 miles all slowly downhill to the valley where we encounter another raging river and a suspension bridge crossing it. Apparently there are one or even two bears living next to the bridge. That is at least what we read on several comments in our PCT App. So we carefully watch for them - but no bears today…
We make a short stop next to the bridge to get some fresh water out of the river and take some pictures of the two of us crossing it.
What comes next is a long climb to another 12’000 feet high pass, Pinchot pass.
So we start climbing it and come across a impressive water slide. And then - finally - the 800 mile sign! Unbelievable - we‘ve just walked 800 miles with our own two feet!
Shortly after we spot someone hiking down the mountains towards us and realize that it is Mugshot, an elderly woman we met a couple of times before but then she hitched from Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows and we didn’t see her again since. So we are a bit surprised as she is clearly walking in the wrong direction. She also recognizes us and begins to tell us that she just decided some minutes ago to leave the trail as she is so afraid of the river crossings and suddenly bursts out in tears. Apparently there is a bigger crossing just coming up a few minutes ahead, which made her come to that decision. We try to calm her and offer to help her with the crossing and after giving it some more thougts she finally agrees to try it that way. When we reach the crossing we have to admit that it is actually a hard one. After studying the river for a while we figure out a doable way. So I go first and make it to the other side, take off my pack, return to the other side, take Mugshot’s pack and bring it safely to the other side. No it is her turn to cross the river. So Maya and I both give her exact instructions on which rock to put which foot and after a short time she also makes it! Maya for her turn jumps like a jung deer over all those rocks and also arrives safe and sound on the other side. At that point we leave Mugshot and tell her to ask anybody for assistance if she should encounter another hard crossing.
We continue our climbing for another 1.5 hours and find a nice campsite for lunch in a smaller forest section. To our surprise there is already a guy sitting there having a campfire. He looks kind of special as he is just wearing normal sneakers which are in a rather terrible state. Also his shirt and pants look like they have already seen a lot things. It turns out the guy’s name is Dzim, actually Dzimitri (not to confuse with Simon’s Dimitris) and is from good old Russia. He is a really nice guy and offers us some black tea he has just boiled over the fire. We start chatting with him and soon start to get the impression that he is a kind of Bear Grills guy. Apparently he is only doing two weeks on the JMT, heading south, so he already did all the passes that are coming up next for us. We start to ask him, if they are hard, and he just starts to tell us in a funny way that it is “all easy, not like Russia, not much snow”. We also ask him if he had had a bear encounter so far and he replies with a kind of sad voice: “No bears here, no wild here. In Russia nature is wild, I see 1000 times brown bear and fight with fox to get duck he hunted for eating”. He continues to tell us stories about crazy Russia and I quickly begin to like the guy. Crazy dude walking here with his broken shoes and sleeping on something looking like packaging plastic. But he insists that his “mattress” is good, very good, because can also make rope of it and even a belt when the bag is too heavy!
He is really one hell of a guy, as he also offers us some of his lunch, which consists of mushrooms and onions he found somewhere next to the trail, and some bread. I am a bit curious if he knows what kind of mushrooms these are but he just says “we have same in Russia”. Ok we both think, it is probably not the first time he eats these mushrooms on the trail and he is still alive (yet).. His meal is actually really tasty. To say thank you, we give him some cheese and salami and with a voice of joy and surprise he says: “crazy, you bring cheese to forest!” and eats it. We also give him a snickers bar, which makes him even happier. After spending another 30 minutes we say goodbye to Dzim and he hands us over a paper sheet with all his contact information. He is also planning to travel through South America as we do, so we all agree to maybe meet again somewhere there.
After leaving our lunch spot, the actual climbing begins. Unfortunately it is not as easy as Dzim told us before but still doable. The trees trees start to get less after maybe 2 hours and soon we are on a plateau again and can spot the pass in the back. It is again a steep, massive granit wall we have to climb. As we approach the pass step by step I start to sound more and more like a steem machine. Zig-zag it is again and exhausting as well. But as always we somehow make it to the top. It is another gorgeous view we encounter on top, below us lies a big valley containing three dark blue lakes. We begin our descent and soon reach Lake Marjorie. There we pitch our tent, have some dinner and fall asleep quickly after this exhausting day!