Twig Adventures

Day 88: The final push through the Sierra

October 1st, 2018 Mm 759.5 to mm 728 Distance: 31.5 miles 0630 – 1830 It was incredible how easy 30 miles felt when not having to climb steep, high passes today. After about 2.5 weeks, I began the descent from the high Sierra. The day started off very cold and it took until about noon to really warm up. I was watching the clouds building all day. Ever since last Thursday, we had been hearing about a weather system (remnants of a hurricane) that was supposed to come in today, bringing rain and snow. I couldn’t believe my luck in just getting beyond the last high pass and also climbing Whitney. I had the most perfect weather throughout the Sierra.[…]

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Day 87: Mt Whitney

September 30th, 2018 Crabtree Meadow to mm 759.5 Distance: 7 PCT miles plus 16 miles on Whitney Spur Trail 0300 – 1630 Today was the big day: climb the highest mountain in the the contiguous US at nearly 14,500′. Last summer, I summited the second tallest mountain, Mt Elbert, off the Colorado Trail. It is only about 50 feet shy of Mt. Whiney, but who’s counting? I was awake and making coffe by 2:30 am. We were on the trail by 3:25 but got a little delayed in trying to find a bear box in the dark. We left some of our stuff in there. The trail was easy to follow; in fact, we barely used our headlamps the whole[…]

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Day 86: PCT Highpoint – Forester Pass

September 29th, 2018 Kearsarge Lakes to Crabtree Meadow Distance: 21.5 PCT miles plus 2 miles on Kearsarge Pass trail and 1 mile on Whitney Spur Trail 0645 – 1630 I got a later start than Stellar and finally caught up to him at the top of Forester Pass. We only had to do this one and final big pass today, the highest point on the PCT at 13,200′. I had to stop a few times on the way up, as I was feeling pretty low energy. It was probably the weight of my pack dragging me down. The pass wasn’t any harder than the others, just a bit higher. Looking back at the pass…it goes up through the grove in[…]

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Day 84 & 85: Bishop Zero and Nero

September 27th & 28th, 2018 Independence to Bishop, then back, then up to Onion Valley Trailhead and over Kearsarge Pass. Distance: 6 miles, plus a whole lot of cycling and walking around town I’m combining these two days for simplicity. I spent most of the time in Bishop. My one goal for this town time was to eat as much as possible to regain my strength, and I did a pretty good job. I started the first day with a big breakfast at the hotel, followed by a pizza for lunch and sushi rolls for dinner. I had really been dreaming of sushi and hot sake for some reason and the town just happened to have a Japanese restaurant. I[…]

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Day 83: Three Passes

September 26th, 2018 Lake Marjorie mm 809 to mm 789 and then out on a spur trail to Onion Valley Trailhead Distance: 20 miles plus 7.6 miles on Kearsarge Pass trail. 0615 – 1830 Since we barely had any food left, I joked that we would have to eat passes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But they about ate me! First up over Pinchot Pass was pretty easy, as we only had about 1000′ of climbing and were feeling fresh in the morning. The early sunlight on the red belt of mountains was fantastic, especially with the full moon over one of the peaks. There have been so many of these dramatic views. We stopped to take some fun pictures.[…]

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Day 82: Mather Pass

September 25th, 2018 Muir Pass mm 838.5 to Lake Marjorie mm 809 Distance: 29.5 miles 0550 – 1900 Today I only did one pass, but it was the most difficult thus far. I was really feeling the drain from big miles and not enough to eat. Since I came up a bit short in miles the day before, we would need to do at least 30 today and 27 the next in order to get out to the trailhead and hitch into town. I didn’t have much of a choice, as I was running low on food. I had divided my remaining supplies into two piles and it was depressing. There was nothing to spare for even a 3rd day[…]

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Day 81: Muir Pass

September 24th, 2018 Sallie Keyes Lakes mm 864 to Muir Pass mm 838.5 Distance: 25.5 miles 0645 – 1830 Today was so-so until the end, and then it was one of the best days of all. To start, I got rolling downhill for a short 4 miles to the turnoff for Muir Trail Ranch. It is another resort along the way and has a legendary hiker box. Hikers ship resupplies there for a $50 flat fee because it all has to be packed in by mules. That fee gets you one bucket, so might as well fill it. Hence, there ends up being a lot of extra stuff. I was in need of some extra calories, especially after the huge[…]

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Day 80: Two Passes

September 23rd, 2018 Purple Lake mm 894 to Sallie Keyes Lakes mm 864 Distance: 30 miles 0630 – 1830 Today I tackled 2 passes, Silver and Selden, both at 11,000′. There’s an antidote that JMT hikers do one pass a day and PCT’ers do 2. So I set out try and ended up with a massive day of over 6500′ elevation gain and loss (pretty close to what I’ve been doing on other days). I guess I was most impressed that I could still pull a 30 mile day in the Sierra. It came at the cost of having only one break all day, though. I was surprised to find no condensation on my tent in the early morning. I[…]

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Day 79: Reds Meadows

September 22nd, 2018 Agnew Meadows mm 915 to Purple Lake mm 894 Distance: 21 miles 0630 – 1830 It was relatively warm at our spot overnight…maybe only into the 40’s. I was even sweating. We walked about 100 meters down the trail and the temperature dropped 10 or 20 degrees in the meadow and near the river. It was a short 6 mile hike to a tourist feature called the Devil’s Postpile. It is an exposed cliff of columnar basalt. The columns were formed when a lava lake cooled. I had thought I was leaving the volcanic features behind at Lassen, but these mountains still have tons of evidence of volcanic history…just not recent activity. From there, it was a[…]

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Day 78: Donohue Pass

September 21st, 2018 Tuolumne Meadows mm 942 to Agnew Meadows mm 915 Distance: 27 miles 0650 – 1930 I enjoyed one of Taylor’s extra breakfasts in the morning…a gruel made of chia seed, high-fat milk powder (Nido), nuts and fruit. He says it’s about 500 calories. It was so filling that I didn’t feel the need to snack all morning. My companions are a lot more conscientious about the caloric content and nutritional value of their foods…it also helps that they spent a lot of time planning and pre-making good stuff at home, shipping boxes all along the way. I have adopted more of a scavenger strategy and will eat just about anything. I had to go with this strategy[…]

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