170911 – Selden Pass (10910 ft)

Day:  141
Date:  Monday, 11 September 2017
Start:  Camped near Muir Trail Ranch, 1.8 miles from Mile 857.7, 7694 ft
Finish:  Camped by the trail at Mile 874.5, 9874 ft
Daily Miles:  16.8 PCT
Total PCT Miles:  2195.2
Weather:  Mild and sunny in the morning, with occasional thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon and evening.
Accommodation:  Tent
Nutrition:
     Breakfast:  Cliff bars and Snickers
     Lunch:  Gorp
     Dinner:  Chicken noodle soup, rehydrated chicken & dumplings.
Aches:  Nothing new.
Highlight: The alpine lakes and forest approaching Selden Pass were exquisite.
Lowlight: None really.
Pictures:  Click here

Position:  Click here.
Map:  Click here for Google Map
Journal:

I enjoyed my sleep in and was waiting at the gate of the Muir Trail Ranch for when they opened at 8:00am.  Inside, I found a long row of plastic drums labelled with the kinds of food/gear that hikers had left for others to use.  I scrounged around and found some food for an evening meal and some snack bars for the day.  After chatting to a few hikers, I set off just before 9:00am on the long climb up to Selden Pass (10910 ft) within sight, for the first couple of hours, of four trail riders/fishermen (who had been staying at the ranch) and their guide as they rode up the same trail.  With the spells the guide gave the horses, I was pretty much travelling the same pace and was held up several times.  Finally, I took my morning break and let them get ahead.  Later, I saw them fishing in two of the alpine lakes approaching the pass.  It would be a nice vacation, but I’m guessing the day’s outing would have cost several hundreds of dollars each.

Perhaps it was the snacks, or the good night’s sleep, but I really enjoyed the last part of the climb up to the pass.  The first hours were relentless steep switchbacking trail up the side of a mountain, but at the higher elevations the grades were gentle and the forest beautiful, with the final mile or two up a series of rocky bluffs.  The pass itself gave fabulous views over wild alpine country, mostly rocky crags and lakes but while I was there it began to spit with rain, and a thunderstorm passed by as I descended the northern side, past some of the lakes.

Soon the trail was back in the forest, but it was still wet and cold, and I felt sorry for those hikers I saw heading up to the pass, some already looking pretty miserable.  However, I still got to “enjoy” the ford of Bear Creek, which required switching to my running shoes, and on the advice of a hiker crossing from the other direction, kept them on for another mile to a second ford, which annoyingly I could have easily managed in my boots.  Sploshing along in cold wet sockless insole-less running shoes carrying a pack on sometimes rocky trail was no fun.

From there I walked until 7:00pm when I found a camping site beside the trail as the ominous sounds of thunder came nearer.  I quickly got the tent up and things stowed away as the rain arrived, and later ate my dinner sheltering under a tree as the rain intensified.  Some things got a bit damp, but generally my gear stayed dry.  I didn’t get as far as hoped today, with the late start, long climb to the pass and time lost at the fords.  I’ll try and get further tomorrow, thougb I have another pass to cross, in the hope of having a shorter day on Wednesday, the day I plan to get to my next resupply at Mammoth Lakes.

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