Total Miles: 795.2
It’s come to this. Model parents, idyllic childhood, college education, advanced degree, solid career. And yet there I was, lying in a gutter while trying to hitch a ride at 6:30 in the morning while Proton slept against a fence. Quite the downfall.
Alright alright, it’s conceivable that was staged for dramatic effect. Mentally, we were all getting a bit down in the gutter as two and half hours passed before we were finally able to get a hitch up the 15-mile access road from Independence. And lest you think that hitching is inherently dangerous, nearly every person I’ve ever gotten a ride from has been fantastic. It’s their driving you should be justifiably terrified of–the overwhelming majority are awful drivers. After a truly death-defying flight up the hairpin turns to the trailhead, we were ready to start hiking at 9:30am. Not exactly the start to the day we had all hoped for, but the sun was shining, another beautiful day was on the horizon, and we were soon climbing back towards the PCT and into the High Sierra.
Retracing our steps over Kearsarge Pass, we chatted with a very friendly ranger named Kat who turned out to be the same one who checked Emily’s and my permit on the JMT last year. Three miles later we were back on the PCT, turning north towards a second high pass. The approach to 12,000-foot Glen Pass was a patchwork of snow and scree, occasionally following obvious switchbacks only to then take a more direct path across the snow. The view from the knife-edge-like ridge of the pass was as spectacular as you might expect, and memories of Emily and I crossing this very place on my birthday last year came flooding back.
The north side of Glen Pass is a broad and steep basin that was still mostly covered in snow, but with a full day of sun the now wet, sugary snow made a perfect surface for controlled glissades down the face. If you want to experience the closest thing to child-like joy, just sit on your butt and glissade down a steep snowy slope like this, with the sun on your face and gorgeous scenery surrounding you.
Despite the swift glissades on the descent, navigating the snow has certainty slowed our pace, though who would want to rush through such a place?