Day 57: Crabtree Meadow (Mile 766)-South of Forester Pass (Mile 777.5); 11.5 miles
The cold, frosty night made it difficult to leave our warm sleeping bags, but we had ground to cover. About a mile into the day, the Pacific Crest Trail joined with the famously stunning John Muir Trail (JMT). The JMT showed its beauty early as we walked out of a sparse pine forest into an open exposed area. There we found an intense blue seasonal lake in a meadow covered with yellow wildflowers. Rugged mountains rose behind.
Although our eyes were excited, our legs told us they needed a break from the intense climbing we had done the previous five days, with heavy packs and little rest. After consulting maps and surveying our remaining food, we elected to camp early. We’ve learned to be flexible on the trail, and we’ve come to enjoy responding creatively to whatever occurs.
We set up the tent in an amazing spot by a lake at 12200 feet, the highest we had ever camped. We saw clear sky and sunset below us, dense textured clouds in the middle distance, and fog cascading over the peaks above us. We heard distant thunder roll through the mountains. Just as we finished dinner, it started hailing! We were amused and quickly retreated to our tent to look at maps and sleep.
Day 52: Kennedy Meadows (Mile 702)-Near Clover Meadow (Mile 709.5), plus 0.5 off trail; 8 miles
Anna received a trail name today! Blueberry, one of the hikers Anna caught heading the wrong direction on Day 33, suggested Anna be called Right Way. We liked this suggestion, and felt a route-finding name was appropriate, since Anna is always helping other hikers navigate. After some brainstorming, we felt North Star was perfect, as that star is used for navigation, and it also represents our continual bearing towards Canada as we hike the Pacific Crest Trail. From now on in the hiking community, Anna will be called North Star.
For the upcoming 11 day stretch in the Sierra Nevada mountains, we equipped ourselves with 44 pounds of food, 2 bear cans, 2 pairs of Microspikes, and a warmer jacket and shirt. After dividing this evenly and adding it to our packs, we weighed them. Shutterbug’s pack weighed 45 pounds, and North Star’s, with a much lighter camera, came in at 39 pounds. This was the heaviest load we anticipated carrying on the entire trail.
Shouldering these hefty packs, we left Kennedy Meadows in late afternoon and walked a few miles. Our backpacks are designed for lighter loads, so we found ourselves adjusting straps frequently to keep them from causing pain.