Thursday, August 18, 2011

John Muir Trail - Recap

Day 1, Friday: We hiked over Bishop Pass (11,972 ft) and down into Dussy Basin. Mosquitoes were pretty terrible at Dussy Basin, but the campsite was lovely.

Day 2, Saturday: We hiked from Dussy Basin up to Lower Palisades Lake. This hike was 12 miles. This hike was so hard!!! In those 12 miles we gained about 2,500 ft in elevation from Le Conte Canyon up to the approach for Mather Pass. Good news, the mosquitoes were following us too. The campsite at Lower Palisades lake was really quite amazing.

Day 3, Sunday: We hiked from Lower Palisade Lake over Mather Pass (12,100 ft) and down through Upper Basin to our campsite on the banks of the South Fork of the Kings River. Mather Pass was really difficult for me, because it was covered in snow, and well, i basically have no snow hiking experience, so i was terrified I'd become a human snowball and fall down the pass to my demise. Good thing for Forrest! Helped me every step of the way! This day was very memorable to us because some nice guys from Michigan and Illinois gave us a bottle of 100% Ben's Deet, you know, for our friends, the mosquitoes.

Day 4, Monday: We hiked from the South Fork of the Kings River, Over Pinchot Pass (12,050 ft) and down to the Twin Lakes. This day we also started eating more, which helped our energy levels. I fell in the snow a few times today, but came out unharmed. We also started having happy hour, which improved spirits even more (and helped with the pain of my 3 new blisters).

Day 5, Tuesday: We hiked from Twin Lakes to Arrowhead Lake, which is in the Rae Lakes area. The heat was really getting to me today, so Forrest put up the tent for lunch and we rested in the shade for a few hours, until the temperatures got more tolerable, for walking around with a 35 lb pack on your back. Arrowhead Lake was a beautiful place to make camp, and we saw the most people on this day of any day we had hiked.

Day 6, Wednesday: Today we got going a little late, because it was planned to be our "day off" from hiking. Except, we didn't take a day off. We hiked from the Rae Lakes area up to Glenn Pass (11,978 ft) and down to the approach for Kersaige Pass (11,823 ft). I will never, ever forget Glenn Pass. I will never, ever forget how surprised I was on top of Glenn Pass. I will never, ever forget how amazingly difficult this back-country backpacking experience was, it was physically and mentally challenging and it was also one of the biggest moments of my life. I am sure by now you've heard that at the top of Glenn Pass Forrest proposed! It was truly one of those magical moments where you're not quite sure what happened, but you're exceptionally happy it just did.

Day 7, Thursday: In light of recent, life changing events, I was really happy we decided to cut out the last 25 miles of our hike and save the Mt. Whitney hike for another time. Today we hiked up to Kersaige Pass (11,823 ft) and down to the trailhead at Onion Valley. Our car was parked at Whitney Portal so we didn't have a vehicle at this point. We weren't stranded for long, a great guy from southern california gave us a ride into Lone Pine, then an man that could have been Paul Harvey drove us to Whitney Portal for our car. Then we had beers and cheeseburgers and rested the remainder of the day!

The trip was truly memorable and life changing on so many levels. We hiked 60 miles!! I haven't ever hiked that far before, never. We hiked over 5 passes that were at or above 12,000 ft! that's amazing too! Also i was in the wilderness! without any technology or a shower and had to dig my own "toilet" any time i needed to use the facilities. at least i had a little shovel!

And now, I have the most amazing fiance! Forrest took exceptional care of me in the wilderness, he made sure i wasn't ever scared (for too long), i wasn't cold, i didn't go hungry, i didn't get eaten by bears (didn't even see any) and he encouraged me every step of the way. Forrest is truly a wonderful person (which i already knew) and if you are ever headed into the wilderness without a Forrest caliber person, well, good luck to you.

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