Date: Wednesday, 07 June 2017
Start: Sherman Pass Road crossing at Mile 702.2, 6007 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 721.5, 9600 ft
Daily Miles: 19.3 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 721.5
Weather: Warm and sunny
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sausages and M&M pancakes with maple syrup
Dinner: Rehydrated sweet and sour pork
Highlight: Climbing into the alpine scenery of the South Sierras
Lowlight: A number of small issues. (1) Forgot to put on my hat after my last break and didn’t realise until a couple of uphill miles later. Decided I can live without it for the next four or five days. (2) The auto ignition button on my stove failed to work. I have a new gas cylinder, but it’s hard to believe the two are linked. Fortunately I have a disposable lighter as backup, but now I have no backup. (3) The mosquitoes were voracious for the last hour or so, landing in squadrons on my arms and legs as I hiked and set up camp. Of course, my insect repellent was one of the casualties of the drive to make my pack lighter this morning!
Pictures: Click here
Position: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
Despite the list of lowlights, I had a great day.
It started with a good breakfast at the Store. Apparently you never know whether breakfast will be on or not until they start making preparations at 7:30am (or not). Although I could have left at 7:15am and had my muesli on the trail, I decided to hang around and wasn’t disappointed in the food. At breakfast, I met two Australian women hikers, Drop Bear and Redback, who had just arrived at the Store. We had a good chat and they told me they were going to skip the High Sierras for the time being and were being picked up by a friend shortly who was later going to drive them to northern California where the snow is less of a problem. They’ll return later to do the bits they missed. They have already completed the Appalachian Trail in the last couple of years. I would guess they were in their mid- to late-fifties.
I left the Store around 8:40am to start walking the 0.7 miles back to the trailhead and was almost immediately offered a lift by the guy who was shuttling hikers to and from Grumpy’s bar for breakfast in a pickup. So I was at the trailhead a few minutes later and starting my hike north.
From there it was mostly a day of climbing, shady redwood forests, babbling streams and rivers, and peaceful alpine meadows on a warm and sunny day. Thoroughly enjoyable despite the additional weight in my pack for the Sierras – extra clothing, crampons, ice axe, gaiters, and bear barrel, not to mention six days food. On the plus side, it became apparent that the days of carrying large quantities of water are behind me for a while. There were streams everywhere, and plenty of crossings.
I’m camped at 9600 ft tonight with some small patches of unmelted snow lying around and it quickly got cold when the sun went down after I had made a relatively late stop for the day at 6:30pm. I think I have one more day to get to the deep snow and then follows some high mountain passes and some raging snowmelt creeks to cross. I have six days food, but hope to reach Independence, my next resupply point, in five. But everybody is guessing how long it will take, and nobody knows for sure.