Rae Lakes to Lake Marjorie (793.5 to 808.6)
Daily miles: 15.1
The mornings in the Sierra are cold and I don’t want to move until the sun hits my tent. Too bad that on this morning a big mountain range blocks the rays and I’m forced to get up and moving still in the mountain shadow. The sun feels a long time coming up today, but eventually it does and then I take off all my warm layers and enjoy the long steady walk down out of the drainage.
So, the the Sierra hike goes is like this: you hike 3000-4000 feet up out of a drainage and crest a pass, which is a natural spot to cross over a group of steep mountains, then you hike down 3000-4000 feet out of the next drainage and do it all again. The passes of the Sierra (south to north) are: Forester, Glen, Pinchot, Mather, Muir, Selden, Silver, and Donahue. I’ve already covered Forester and did Glen last night, so today it’s up and over Pinchot.
It’s a demanding pass because the approach is long and requires a good deal of elevation gain. I spend the afternoon gasping and leaning hard on my trekking poles. The basin south of the pass is huge and open and I have to find the route along the snowfields. Sometimes I can make my way along the path of previous hikers, and sometimes I make my own.
By 5:30 I’ve made it up, totally gassed, and look out to the north, beyond Lake Marjorie and off to the valley below. The earth rises up again in the distance and I eye the chain of mounatains that hold Mather Pass, tomorrow’s challenge.
But it’s just that: a challenge for another day. I make my way down quickly and easily and set up at a great site that makes for outstanding evening views. The wind dies down and the night is calm. I’m elated to have Pinchot Pass behind me.
One thought on “June 21 (Day 51)”
Beautiful pictures! An amazing journey.