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July 3, 2024 - Day 47

July 3, 2024 - Day 47

jbwils Jul 4th, 2024
Mozart's 2024 PCT Thru-Hike

I woke up this morning really beat. The elevation was getting to me and in addition, I haven’t been sleeping well. It was an early morning but a slow one. I also know what lay ahead for me the rest of the day. We’d be crossing over Forester Pass - the highest point on the PCT at 13,200 feet (Mount Whitney is technically not on the PCT but a 20 mile out and back hike).

Given our two previous days, the initial ascents weren’t too bad. For the most part, we have gotten used to hiking our roughly twenty five to thirty pound packs at such high elevation. We had several river crossings and with great balance, we were able to navigate over the rushing water without getting our feet wet. The climbs kept getting higher and the descents kept decreasing in height. We were crossing the tree line repeatedly until we walked to a massive valley full of wild flowers, deer, marmots, and a lake. Mackenzie and I stopped for lunch here and dried out our tent and sleeping bags of the dew from this morning. Our lunch was croissant sandwiches with smoked ham, cheddar cheese, arugula, and onion. We learned that arugula and onion keeps really well even when in bags. It gives the sandwich texture which out here goes a long way.

After lunch, we ran into Alisa as we’re were climbing down our last descent before we were at the base of Forester Pass. We crossed a large river and enjoyed the crystal clear water with cutthroat trout swimming all throughout the slow rapids. This marked our start of the climb up to the Pass. It’s a five mile hike with a big push right at the end. At this point, we’re above the tree line entirely enjoying views of snow capped mountains with rivers and streams running through our path every quarter mile or so. We stopped at one stream for a drink and a snack. The water was ice cold and the weather couldn’t have been better.

After pushing for another couple miles, we passed over a larger creek and looked up realizing the climb we had next. For about a mile up to this point, both Mackenzie and I thought our trail wrapped to the left and up a somewhat steep but manageable slope over the ridge line. It was some of the steepest switch backs we have seen up to this point. In only a half mile, we climbed 850 feet up to the Pass. It was a stairstepper up.

Once at the pass, it was incredible. What lay on either side of this ridgeline was truly incredible. Massive lakes and breathtaking peaks for almost 360 degrees views. It was a tough climb with an amazing pay off. After enjoying the views for a bit, we began a steep and long climb down to the valley floor. The scene reminded us all of the valley in the movie Land Before Time. It was a jaw dropping experience. We had to cross a couple snow banks but the foot holes in the snow we sturdy and firm. Crystal clear lakes with some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen were trickled throughout the entire valley. Going down is once again, a lot easier than going up.

The sun began to cast its afternoon glow along the mountains around us so Mackenzie and I set up camp near the valley river to enjoy the sunset and have some dinner. The mosquitoes are some of the worst but with a head net and rain gear on, very tolerable. We’re both exhausted now ready to get some much deserved sleep. Tomorrow, we’re going to Bishop to rest and relax. My body needs it in the worst way.

Happy trails…

Previous: Jul 3rd, 2024

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