Total Miles: 788.5
A day that begins with the knowledge that a shower and a limitless supply of calories waits at the end of the rainbow is always a good day. Another cold night had me in all my layers again, and the morning brought a fresh veneer of condensation on all of my gear.
The trail continued to the very bottom of the descent we had begun from Forester Pass the day before, following what alternated between a dry footbed and a small snowmelt-fed creek. Combined with two fords of swollen streams, cold feet were on the menu for everyone. But the sky was clear, crisp, and benign waiting only for the waking sun to cast down its warmth.
As we exited the PCT onto a trail that led over Kearsarge Pass and ultimately to a road, the cold breeze intermingling with the sun brought attention yet again to perhaps the most important layer of clothing in my pack: the wind shirt. Always the first layer to come on each day, I’m constantly amazed by how a 2-ounce piece of material can often be the only layer needed to manage alpine conditions that can vary wildly from one minute to the next.
The view from Kearsarge Pass down into the Owens Valley far below was stunning. The contrast between where we stood and where we’d be in a few hours time couldn’t have been more clear. 7000 feet separating high alpine from arid desert.
Just turning 180 degrees yielded a very different kind of scenery…
Somewhere down there, the tiny town of Independence and our resupply boxes were waiting for us.
The lowlight of the day was the result of an “incident” I had last night as I tried to move a very large rock to reinforce the stake that keeps the main line of my tent under very high tension. Suffice it to say that rocks and fingers don’t mix. One of these little piggies no longer looks like the others after getting crushed. Not broken, fortunately, but I’ve begun drafting my goodbye letter to that fingernail.