CS919.9 to Vogelsang Trail Junction (919.9 to 936)
Daily miles: 16.1
Woke up and the world was still spinng, sky still a nice deep blue and I was alive in these mountains. I’d made camp on a ridge with big open views to Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak, and I knew within that range were Shadow, Ruby, Garnet, and 1000 Island Lake. A beautiful stretch of trail. I’d walked it a couple years ago and now I get to look out at it and admire from afar, which is a fine perspective as well.
I felt odd, all mixed up inside, but I pushed on and made it to 1000 Island Lake. I stopped and admired, kept my pack on and just stood there for 10 minutes, thinking. Then I walked on and crested Island Pass, which is so tiny and brief it doesn’t really count as a pass.
I take lunch, apply Deet (bugs and mosquitos are bad), and rest up for the final pass of the High Sierra, Donahue. I’m both sad and happy to see them go. I was talking to a young woman, another PCTer, the other day and she summed up the Sierra perfectly:
“They’re so beautiful that it’s stressful,” she said. I think I understand what she means, and I think it takes walking over these mountains to understand.
I meet a JMTer (John Muir Trail hiker) when I get to the top of Donahue Pass, actually, I meet a lot of them but I don’t get the impression that most want to stop and chat. But this one does. I tell him how I’m jealous of him, going into these mountains for the first time, summiting his first pass with the entire rugged range stretched out before him. We talk a little about the PCT, but I don’t really want to talk PCT today so I wish him luck, tell him I’m happy for him, smile, and move on.
I’ve been in a nasty kind of funk, so it’s nice to smile and mean it.
So the passes are over and now I head down into the glory of Lyell Canyon, and then on to Tuolumne Meadows. I’m in Yosemite now, home of bears. Home of RVS and overpriced cheeseburgers, wilderness car jams and modern plumbing. It’s good to be back. I’m back.