June 1, 2016
Kearsarge Pass Trailhead to bushcamp (mile 789.8)
Miles: 8.2 (0.8 PCT miles + 7.4 miles from Kearsarge Pass Trailhead to PCT)
The alarm went off at 5 am. Unable to open her eyes Laurie asked to reset the alarm for 5:30 am. Andy obliged and we both immediately fell back asleep.
At 5:30 am we reluctantly got up. We had things to accomplish before Strider picked us up at 6:30 am to take us back to Onion Valley (Kearsarge Pass Trailhead).
Laurie showered, Andy tried uploading blogs unsuccessfully, we spoke with family and ate cold pizza for breakfast. It was delicious!
The Mt Williamson Motel offered a wonderful 1 night respite from trail life.
We scored and did most of our shopping yesterday in the hiker box (toothpaste, aluminum foil as a wind screen for cooking, face sunblock (which Laurie squeezed into a ziplock) and Chapstick! The only thing we had to buy was fuel.
We got to the trailhead around 7 and started the climb up and over Kearsarge Pass.
It was already warm. The trail switchbacked up, sometimes covered by snow. It was slow going. Our packs were heavy with 7 days worth of food. The snow was already softening in the sunlight so we had to be careful where we put our feet to prevent post holing.
We climbed up snowy inclines, placing one foot in front of the other and using our poles to prevent slipping.
We climbed up and up. We had been down this trail the day before and knew what to expect.
After 2 miles we stopped in a boulder field to finish uploading our blog posts. We knew this was the last reception we would have for a week and wanted to finish everything on our town list.
We reached the top of the pass around 10:30am. Just as we turned the corner 2 hikers joined us from the other direction.
They were Bourbon and Chris. Moments later Krispy and Pancakes came up the trail. We first met them in Warner Springs (mile 107) and have seen them sporadically since. It is feels like running into old friends and is fun to see how people have changed after 2 months on the trail.
We chatted for a while and then parted ways. We headed down more switchbacks to a junction. From here we took another trail that would lead us back to the PCT.
It stayed higher than the Bullfrog Lake trail we had taken the day prior. We admired the views from above and walked/glissaded our way down.
About 0.7 miles from the PCT we stopped for lunch. We sat on a large granite rock and watched ants crawl up our legs as we ate.
From here we continued on another 1.5 miles to camp. The snow was soft and the post holes deep. We were both tired and ready to be done hiking for the day.
There were 2 established campsites on this side of the pass and we had planned to camp at one of them. Unfortunately, as the trail crested over 11,000 ft the trail turned to snow. The campsites were there but covered by at least 2 feet of snow.
We found a flat spot amongst a bunch of rocks and decided to set up camp. We were happy to find something off the snow in hopes it would be warmer and drier.
We set up the tent, Andy went to fetch water and Laurie inflated the air pads. We tied our emergency blanket to the side of the tent to act as a sun shade and crawled in. We snacked, blogged and both took naps.
When we awoke 30 minutes later the bottom of our tent was wet. Laurie unzipped the tent to find a puddle of water in front and under our tent.
Apparently we were either camping on a spring or our body weight disrupted some normal flow of snow melt. Either way, we were now camped on a puddle.
We placed the emergency blanket under our sleeping pads as an additional layer of protection. Hopefully that helps keep us warm tonight and tomorrow we will dry everything on one of our breaks.
We also built a dam out of rocks to keep water from coming onto our ground sheet. We will see how it all turns out in the morning!
We ate dinner outside as we watched the sun fade. We ate 2 mystery meals we got from the hiker box at the Mt Williamson Motel.
Supposedly they were lasagna and tacos. They were cheesy (of the artificial variety) and meaty. It provided nice variety to our typical meals but not something we could eat every night.
As soon as the sun set the temperature dropped. We organized our food for tomorrow, dividing it between our bear cans and “smelly proof” bags since we can’t fit it all in our bear cans.
We crawled into our tent, organized and stored gear and clothes in stuff sacks to keep them from potentially getting wet and wrote/edited blog posts some more.
The Sierras are draining and we are tired. We know if we slip and fall behind on blogging it will be really hard to get caught up again.
We really enjoy blogging and it’s important to us to continue to document our adventure. We work well as a team and will have to continue to do so if we want to stay up to date.
Time for bed. Goodnight.
Tonight we are grateful for emergency blankets and flat camping spots.