PCT 2007 Day 71
Day 71 / 6-4-07 Cowboy Camp 10160′
South Fork Kern River – Corral
19.3 (.5) miles;; 736 (14.7) total miles 2585.7 trip miles
60’s, partly cloudy w/ some wind
Marmot count is 3
Pikas count is 0
Yes! Today I saw my first marmot. I actually saw two at once. They were sunning on a rock together. None of the marmots I saw were very fat. They have all summer to fatten up though.
We awoke to the sound of cows at 5 AM. I didn’t get up until around 5:30 though. It was pretty chilly when we got up. UB was up and out of camp first, followed by Wounded Knee and I. I scared some of the cows as I crossed the field right next to camp. We had a flat start then a long gradual climb once we got to Cow Creek. On the climb we caught Wing It and Stick. The climb brought us to over 10,000′ in elevation. When we were almost to the first saddle on the climb, we hiked through a beautiful alpine meadow and that is where I saw the marmots.
We took a break at the top of the climb at 10540′. This is the highest I’ve ever hiked yet. My shin was only slightly bugging me at this point. We descended 5 miles and along the way had lunch at a creek. The water looked very rusty but it turned out to just be the soil in the stream bed that was red. The water did have a lot of floaters in it though. After lunch we had a nice rolling section which passed through another beautiful meadow; then came another climb of 6 miles. The earlier part of the climb did a number on my shin but as I got towards the summit it started to feel better. The climb offered us incredible views of the Sierras. The forests here are mostly all pines and there is no undergrowth. The ground is actually just sand and rocks covered in some places with pines needles and cones. Its very barren but oddly beautiful.
We crested the summit and descended a short side trail that brought us to our camp for the night. We are just inside the woods next to a meadow with a small spring in it. As a result there are mosquitoes. I will be wearing the head net to bed and will be confined to my sleeping bag. I bear bagged my extra food and anything else that smells just in case.
I must say I’m truly blessed to be out here and to have such a supportive family, as well as girlfriend. Mom, dad, and Sam, thank you for helping make this happen. The Sierras are incredible and will only get better.
Gloves count is 57; I saw 3 gloves since I started the trip but forgot them.
Scatman 2011- The first full day in the Sierra and I loved it. I no longer cared about the big climbs because the views were amazing. Looking for Marmots and Pikas helped distract me too. As I said in my entry there is not a lot of color in the Sierra but it’s still so very beautiful. It’s a stark beauty. When I looked at the meadows and peaks around them I just couldn’t help but think about the force it took to carve them. It was a powerful thought and it moved me every time.
Get out there!
You can check out my Appalachian Trail or Continental Divide Trail journals too!
There are not enough superlatives in the english language to do the sierras justice. When personal flight becomes a reality, I’m going to spend my days swooping around the backcountry there.