Miles: 13.81
Camping: Bullfrog Lake trail junction PCT mile 788.4

I used the last of my fuel to make my coffee water as hot as possible this morning before it petered out. We were going to hike over the highest point on the PCT today, and I wanted to be ready. Eager to get moving, I didn’t eat breakfast right away. With food carefully rationed, it was best to space out my eating times the best I could.

We started climbing right away, but it was gradual and gorgeous. We walked through an open meadow under the pass, Whitney to our right, streams running everywhere, mountains taking up the sky. The sun was peeking over a ridge, casting a golden glow upon the morning. It was harshly windy again, cold biting through my layers. I bundled up as best as I could and walked, completely enamored with my surroundings. When I found a rock large enough to break the wind I stopped to eat a Larabar with hazelnut butter, which was half of my breakfast. If I waited to eat the other half (a bison bar), it would force me to take another break, which I need sometimes.

We started walking across snow on the approach, frozen lakes all around us. I looked up numerous times wondering how this trail would get us safely over that pass. It was covered in snow and oh so high. Funny enough, before I knew it, I was on top of the pass. The trail had been graded so gradually that it turned out to be a pretty easy hike. I am sure climbing Whitney a couple of days ago was good conditioning too, and I’m in the best shape of my life at this point. This is getting more and more fun now that my feet are cooperating with me and my new shoes.

The pass was breathtaking. It marks the border between Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Both sides are remarkably pristine, and I sat there perched right in the notch of the pass looking left, then right like I was watching a tennis match. Everything was stunning beyond comprehension. No words or photos can do justice to today, it was just…wow! I even teared up a bit taking in the beauty.

We hiked down through snow and open meadows, constantly surrounded by amazing scenery. I felt like I was walking through a calendar, month after month of perfect nature scenes. The hiking was pleasant and eventually brought us to a forest that felt enchanted. I felt like a child living out a fantasy in true wilderness. This is paradise.

I crossed many streams and rivers, lounged by waterfalls, inhaled the pristine air, ate my careful rations and smiled all day long. We are now camped 7.6 miles from the road that will hopefully offer us a hitch into town tomorrow. I am going to eat so much food! Today was as close to perfect as I can imagine… if only there were more food.

wearing everything in my pack for warmth
looking north
coming down the other side
Mad Hatter