Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 60: Forester Pass, and the most beautiful trail section <3

Sunday 6/17/12
Miles 770-788 (21 miles including the sidetrail towards Kearsarge Pass)
Elevation 10,864'

Ok so it wasn't as bad as I thought. Forester Pass. Having just done Whitney yesterday I was gearing myself up for a repeat of that. Forester was way gentler. :) I am *so stoked* there is no snow!! That is the reason this whole deal is so mellow. Two of my friends hiked up Forester in sandals. Lol.

Gosh the views were incredible today!! It is so interesting bouncing above and below the treeline. It's such a different energy when you get out of the trees. It's really amazing the foliage and amount of life that exists in altitudes so high I can't even get my stove to light :)

Funny thing is, what I thought was Forester Pass yesterday, wasn't actually it. It wasn't as ominous as I thought. The approach to the pass was quite nice. Lots of waters and lakes everywhere. Then it was a series of switchbacks up to the pass which was pretty mellow. It's so cool, you can see/hear people at the bottom of the approach, when standing on the pass.

It was quite windy up there. Not as windy as Whitney though. We got a couple pictures. It's funny, you can usually tell how windy/cold I am in the pics by how much I'm clinging to Kyle. Lol. He has the metabolism of a bullet train, and so he radiates a lot of heat. When I am in close proximity to him it's a significant amount warmer. Lol. Plus, since he's so much taller, if I stand on the downwind side of him I'm somewhat blocked from the wind. Whee!!

Speaking of Kyle, I'm pretty stoked he hasn't chosen to outhike me yet. :) Interestingly enough, both of us are primarily soloists who don't travel well with others, and were previously quite adamant about avoiding people. Funny thing is, individually we are both quite prone to making dumb decisions, but somehow we have this synergistic energy where, collectively, we make pretty epic decisions. Not sure how that works, but apparently sometimes I need someone to keep me in check. Lol.

Speaking of dumb decisions. Holy crap I descended Forester Pass in the most idiotic/epic/fun manner possible. Lol! There's an overhead pic I took of a bunch of switchbacks. That was the initial part of the descent which was mellow. After that section I came upon a patch of snow that probably covered about 40' of trail. I refused to walk in snow so I detoured around it. However, what I thought was an alternate trail ended up being nothing and so I found myself going straight down the side of the mountain because I saw the trail way down below. Lol. Oops. Carpenter followed my path, knowing it wasnt the trail, and Creeper followed him, so the 3 of us pretty much bushwhacked down the mountain, minus the bushes. Lol. Just lots and lots of loose rocks and sand. Go Team Breezy!! :D I'm stoked I didn't get smashed by a loose falling boulder yay! Funny thing is, this isnt the 1st (or 2nd, or 3rd even...) time I've gone sliding down a hillside. Somehow a lot of my hikes in Hawaii start or end like this. Lol. I guess you can say I have experience. I took a video midway down. I'll see if I can upload it.

Anyhow, the descent down the valley and through the meadow was possibly my most favorite portion of trail thus far. It was so mellow (all downhill) and there were trees everywhere and the river got really big at some parts! It was just so freakin awesome. I have a pic of that portion, with Kyle next to the river. I didn't take many pics because we were trying to make some miles so I didn't want to stop.

Stoked we did a 20+ mile day! Holy crap I am soooo tired. In the last 48 hours we went from 8,500' to 14,505' to 10,000' to 13,000' to 10,000', tomorrow we're going to around 12,000' then down to 9,000'ish. Yowza! Lol.

By the way, I found out a friend of mine had to get heli-vac'd off the trail. Uuuuugh that is so gnarly. Not sure what exactly happened but the general guess is altitude sickness. Anyhow, thank you to whoever called in for that rescue, you probably saved her life. Yikes. That's the 2nd person I know of that had to be helicoptered off trail. :(

Kearsarge Pass tomorrow, then heading down to the town of Independence then Bishop. Yay!! :)

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