PCT 2007 Day 73
Day 73 / 6-6-07 T 10,465′
Chicken Spring Lake – Crabtree Meadow
16.1 miles; 766.3 (15.2) total miles; 2616 trip miles
60’s sunny, windy,
Marmot count is 9
Pika count is 1
Last night lasted forever. Either I was drooling on my pillow or the snow was blowing in my face. Which ever it was, I always found a wet spot. The wind would gust so hard I thought my tarp was going to blow away for sure. After a while I learned to recognize when a big one was coming. That shows you how well I slept. I woke up around 5 when I heard Wounded Knee moving but he said it was only 5 and I took that as let’s stay in bed until 6. His thermometer said 27, and UB’s said 24 degrees. So to say the least, it was a cold morning.
As I ate my cereal in bed, the milk that splashed on the sides of the pot froze. By the end my milk was almost like porridge. I’ve never eaten frozen raisins before today either. The rest of my morning packing was done quickly and in a manner to save as much heat as possible.
Just up the trail I had my 5th or 6th nose bleed of the trail. It didn’t last long; but was a reminder the Sierras are dry as well. A little further up the trail I saw some Mountain Jays. They were different from the ones in Washington. These seemed fatter and their coloring was different. I also saw some woodpeckers and Juncos. The robins are back too. We crossed into the Sequoia National Park in the first half of the day. These means we must use bear boxes or hang our food, among other things.
We had lunch at Rock Creek. While we ate, I dried my sleeping bag out since it was icy when I put it away. My Tyvek was icy, too; so that got some time in the sun also. We didn’t stay long since we wanted to get to Crabtree Meadow. As we climbed over the shoulder of Mt. Guyot, we got some incredible views of the terrain to the north. Words can’t describe how beautiful it was. We also could see that more weather was pushing over the mountains towards us. It appeared to be coming from two directions. We descended from Mt. Guyot and then climbed at bit before our final descent to Crabtree. On the descent there were trees with flag shaped pieces of California license plates stuck to them. It was weird.
In a rocky area on a switchback I saw something small move. I turned and saw my very first Pika! I’m dedicating the first Pika to Sam, since she loves them so much. Right after I saw the Pika, I saw 2 marmots. In the next meadow I saw 10 deer. As we followed a creek up to Crabtree we saw a huge rabbit. Once to Crabtree I saw 3 more deer and 2 more marmots. One of the marmots was inside the pit toilet and as I walked around it, he came running out and scared the crap out of me. Wounded Knee was there and we both had a great laugh. Further down the meadow is the grave of a young man named Dr. William Tuttle Jr., who died while climbing a near by mountain. The grave has been there since 1946.
The meadow is beautiful, and of course, it’s cold as hell. Tonight will be another night with all my clothes on. I have no idea why I didn’t bring warmer clothes. My shin pain was gone yesterday just like that and still gone today. The ankle joint was stiff in the AM but okay the rest of the day.
Scatman 2011- One of the other hikers did have a fire so before bed I got to enjoy some of the warmth. I wish I could have slept next to the fire. It was so very cold, plus there was the thought that tomorrow I’d be climbing up Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States.
The day was great. Each day of the Sierra got better than the last and today was no different. You can see why it moved John Muir so much. The beauty is endless. You also get a feel for how remote you are. When you hike through the Sierra there isn’t a road for something like 200 +/- miles. It’s the long stretch on the trail.