Day 50: The Devil In Stitches

Mile reached: 925.9 (+22.7 + 4.2 bonus)

High: So many great views throughout the day

Low: There was too much snow on Mount Ritter for me to feel comfortable climbing it.

Consensus says: Thru-hikers are more likely to get dehydrated in the Sierra than in the desert. There is so much water that we carry very little and tend to drink less.

I was in no rush to get out of town, but I wanted to be sure that I got back to the trail early enough to put in a full day. After a quick breakfast, I tried to Uber back to the trailhead. Oddly, there were no drivers available; same with Lyft. So, this meant that I needed to take the trolley, which would take a while. Oh well.

From Horseshoe Lake I took a side trail to get back to the PCT. It turned out that I could have taken a trail directly to Red’s Meadow, but I didn’t have a very good map of the area and added three or so miles. On the bright side I ran into “Couch Potato”, and he thanked me for giving him an update on conditions on Forester a week or so back.

I took a less efficient trail, but the views were beautiful.
I’d heard that the Ansel Adams Wilderness was pretty. Look how excited I was to enter it.
The forest didn’t appear so healthy. There were sections of big old trees.
And then stretches of stumps. I wondered if it was due to CO2 poisoning.
Trail crew

The midday highlight was having lunch at the Devil’s Postpile. Surprisingly, I had it all to myself likely due to problems with the road. Almost immediately after the postpile, I had to make a decision about whether to take the PCT or JMT at a fork. I had been wanting to climb Mount Ritter, which is accessed from the JMT. However, earlier in the day I had seen so much snow on it that I was doubtful that it could be climbed with the gear I had. So, I opted to take the PCT and was treated to fantastic views of both Ritter and Banner throughout the afternoon.

The Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River
Behold, the Minarets!

In the early evening, I arrived at Thousand Island Lake but was greeted by intense wind. While I was snacking, “Penguin”, “Snacks”, and “Night Walker” showed up. They immediately recognized me from the campfire at VVR a few nights back and thanked me for giving out cookies. (I had been holding the bag, but I didn’t deserve any credit. Alicia had made and brought them.) Amusingly, “Night Walker” was a little disappointed to learn that he missed out, because he had passed out from a full day of drinking earlier that evening. Anyway, it was so windy that I decided to push on and camp a few miles shy of Donahue Pass.

Thousand Islands Lake with Banner Peak towering above

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