Day 55: Taken For Granite

Mile reached: 1041.4 (+24.5 + 2.5 bonus)

High: Enjoying the change of scenery

Low: On the first tiny steam crossing of the day my shoe slipped off a rock and into the water getting completely soaked.

Forest fires started: 0

I woke up several times in the morning as various people attempted to quietly pack up. Periodically rolling over, I would see “Baywatch” still sound asleep even as it reached our agreed upon departure time. “Ghost Wolf” eventually got up, and finally everyone else did as well. Miraculously, “Sugar Man” survived the night cowboy camping and even admitted that he hated it less than he thought he would. After exchanging some quick goodbyes and taunts around staying for breakfast, “Baywatch” and hiked the road back out to the highway.

After half an hour of attempting to flag down a car, a truck pulled up and motioned us over. Caleb, the driver, was a local headed up over the pass. Apparently, his parents had just started a road trip to Chicago, but their car broke down. So, he was off to help. During the drive we learned a bit about Toulomne county, and before we knew it we were dropped off at the pass.

“Baywatch”, he’s entertainingly self-conscious that he looks like a lecherous hobo since his pants button has fallen off.

As I stepped out from behind the truck, I heard someone shout, “Chihuahua!” It turned out that “Janky Poles” was waiting at the pass deciding what to do. I cautioned that Kennedy Meadows was completely out of chips! He seemed a bit distraught over this news. (“Janky” always packs out at least three kinds of chips.) After learning where various people camped the past two days, I joked, “How about those mosquitoes?” An Irish hiker immediately piped up, “They weren’t bad. They were fucking biblical!” This was of course followed by a exchange of a handful of mosquito stories. (It was disheartening to hear that the Irish hiker was leaving the trail, since he was starting to suffer irreparable damage to his knees.)

With half the morning gone, I set off up the slopes of Sonora Peak. The PCT crosses though a saddle and drops down the valley on the far side. However, I spent an hour taking a climbers trail up to the summit before continuing on.

The barren summit of Sonora Peak

Much of the morning was spent going through areas of volcanic rock, though granite did appear in contrast occasionally. The terrain also became more pastoral, and there was clear evidence that this part of the forest is used for summer grazing.

Forest and meadows forever intertwined
Looking south back at Sonora Peak
There were lots of alpine meadows encountered throughout the day.

Surprisingly, I saw hardly anyone the whole day. Though, there were a few PCTers, who had flip flopped, heading southbound.

Ebbetts Pass lies just beyond Highland Peak.
The fading light

I accidentally went a few miles further than I had meant to go for the day. However, I found a great campsite overlooking a pond. Unfortunately, there were a nontrivial number of mosquitoes, but the fire pit was all ready to go! So, I was able to eat in peace outside my tent, before finally going to sleep.

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