Day 35: Don’t Forget Your Booties

Mile reached: 746.8 (+24.6 + 1.6 bonus)

High: Enjoying 360° views of the southern Sierra from the top of Olancha Peak

Low: It was a cold day further compounded by intense wind near the crest

Unfortunately, the wind picked up overnight. I felt somewhat sheltered from it cowboy camping in my quilt, but I wasn’t totally free from it. So, it became a struggle to finally decide to get up and get going.

The view west as I was getting out of camp

The primary objective for the morning was to climb Olancha Peak. You guessed it! Olancha has over 3,000 feet of prominence. Not only that, but it is one of only a few mountains that have the property that there is no taller mountain further south in California. There is not much of a use trail, but the terrain is quite open. Most of the climb was over talus, and I love a good talus scramble. The wind, however, was relentless, and I had to take care that it didn’t blow me off the exposed eastern face. I did have signal from there top, so I messed around with my phone for a bit. Otherwise, I quickly hightailed it off the mountain.

Olancha looking ahead of me in the morning
Olancha drops precipitously down to the Owens Valley below.
Olancha marks the start of the High Sierra, but the true monarchs stand miles further to the north.

After finding the gear I had stashed, I got back on trail and entered the start of the High Sierra. There were sparse pine forests with granite pinnacles towing overhead punctuated by the occasional meadow. It felt around almost every corner was a vista that beckoned for me to stop and take it in. They say that thru-hikers mileage goes down in the Sierra. I’m not sure if it’s that the elevation and terrain are more difficult or because there are so many places worth stopping.

So much granite…
Mount Langley, the first of the 14’ers

The day went quickly with only the wind and occasional military jet disrupting it. Every hour or so, some fighter would scream by overhead breaking the sound barrier. Entertainingly, I have to search quite a ways ahead to find the plane after hearing it. In the late afternoon, I found a beautiful campsite in a meadow sheltered from the wind. So, I called it a day, ate, and snuck into my quilt to hide from the cold.

The first snow on trail. I’ve got to think that it being a low snow year has made the going so much easier.
Poison Meadow, which turned out to be a beautiful place to camp

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