PCT Day 54

Day 54: Another note about yesterday because I somehow forgot to write in one of the longest lasting jokes of the trail. Before we left to hitch Scotty was making a sign for us to say Onion Valley, so people knew where we needed to go. We’re all at the table talking when Hefty looks over and asks what the hell he is writing. It says “Oig” Scotty, from France, says On-yon “O-I-g-n-I-o-n” we all start cracking up uncontrollably. We kept saying that nobody would understand that, we’re not in France. So we finally got the write spelling before we headed out. I realize this probably sounds funny to nobody except us who were there but it’s an important memory for me. And it was something we had fun saying the rest of the time. on-yon o-i-g. Haha. Ok so to today. We woke up about 3am to start packing up. Being a good trail family we brought some goodies for Hefty for his birthday. So in the cold wind at 3:45am, unable to light the candle due to the wind, we sang him happy birthday with a brownie from the local bakery with a candle on top. Scotty also brought some of those popper things you buy for the 4th of July. I love birthdays and am so happy we got to celebrate someone’s while on the trail. We still have another surprise for him later! Now we start back up Kearsarge, and I am not looking forward to it. I’m pretty nervous about the wind and how much worse it will be once we get higher. It’s definitely pushing me around a bit. So going up ended up not being as bad as I imagined. As the sun came up the wind died down a smidge but not a lot. I was anxious a good ways up due to it. Then we were back at the top and guess who we saw?!! CALVIN! And his group! Oh we were so excited. I deem Calvin the most popular guy on the trail because anyone who meets him loves him and how can’t you? He is always so honest and positive and has a huge smile on his face. So we catch up for a min then a group of probably 12 hikers all start to sing Hefty happy birthday on the top of the pass. Super cool. So we say our goodbyes again and start heading down to get back to the trail. Then…we see Hummingbird!!! Poor thing has been sick and had a hell of a time this first section. Her parents got her into a Ned Tibbets course. He guides people through the Sierras teaching them different useful knowledge to help with being in the back country he is very famous for it. She unfortunately had to stray from her group to wait for her class. Then Ned ended up going MIA one day and the class had to go out searching for him. He threw his back out, which he has had issues with for a long time, and had to get helicoptered out. And then her class was over. So now she’s being kind of going on her own. I’m so happy she did what she did and she’s ok and able to get some rest soon. We hike on a little further passing Crushers group, but Crusher isn’t with them. We didn’t see him so we all assume he must be ahead so we said we would keep an eye out. But they’re about to split and send a couple people back to look for him. After the downhill from Kearsarge it was mainly snow fields from what I remember. We found some rocks free from snow at the base of Glen Pass. It’s early but we don’t want to do 2 passes in one day. So we’re just going to hang out. We were just hanging out then everything changed. So apparently nobody found Crusher and we’re all just again assuming he went ahead. And then all the sudden we see 2 hikers heading towards us but coming from Glen Pass. So they’re heading back towards where we came from, south bound instead of north bound. It was Freckles and Tim?!!! I was excited to see them but nervous and curious why they were coming back. Apparently on the other side of Glen and a few miles past there’s a creek, that I cannot unfortunately remember the name of right now. But there was a thin sketchy snow bridge. Em and Lou decided to cross at the bridge but Tim and Freckles didn’t feel safe and didn’t see any other place to cross so they turned back. And planned to head back to Bishop. We chat with them for a bit while we eat lunch then finally talk them into joining our group! We have more people and gear to help with crossings. So they set out their food and calculate how many days left they have. And we figured they’d be good and we can share food if needed. So now 8 grew to 10. But the thing is they insisted if they joined we had to go over Glen Pass today. Because the back side is extremely steep and you don’t want to do it if the snow is frozen. It’s safer and easier to just glissade. So there we go. We pack up all of our stuff and head on our way. Glen Pass was in no way easy or not sketchy. There was a lot to not like about it. The initial climb wasn’t bad then we passed some water which was nice to be able to fill up and rest for a second. But once you got to the summit, or near it, it turned into a slippery rock scramble. What makes this more dangerous than the Whitney scramble is that there you had a lot of space to not be right under people as the rocks fall. But here. Is was a sharp incline back down the hill and narrow. So we all stood in a line just waiting for one by one for us to make it over the rocks. A man actually showed up behind us and asked if we were a high school group. We took some offense to that. But headed on. Got to the top and some of the group sat down and slid their way down. I’m not a fan of heights and it makes me nervous so I followed Freckles and Megan’s footprints slowly side stepping down. There were probably about 10 points during this I wanted to so badly just stop and slide but for some reason I just didn’t. I kept walking. And it takes a good 20x longer to do this rather than just slide. And it’s almost more scary because you’re trying not to slip but every step you wonder if you will so when you do slip it’s more scary than if you just slide on purpose. Meg got stuck for a minute but luckily we have some awesomely nice guys in our group and Tim helped her. That’s something that never changes through the entirety of the trail. The love we all had for each other was so real. Ego was dead out here. Anywho we finally get to the bottom and hike on to find camp. The idea is to camp at Rae Lakes where Tim and Freckles camped the night before. We find some rocks before that though and half the group decided to stay there. I didn’t want to because it was really windy and by now we all know I don’t like that. So the rest of us head to the frozen over lakes. We camp above them under some trees. It’s my first night ever camping directly on the snow. Freckles taught me how to set up my campsite then gave me some pointers about adding more warmth but laying anything extra, layers, under the sleeping pad to add insulation. So I put my poncho underneath my sleeping pad then headed to sleep. It ended up being a cold night but not freezing. Actually better than I imagined for sleeping on snow.

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