Day 47 Leaving Lone Pine
Tuesday June 2nd 2014
I was woken early by numerous hikers moving out at silly o’clock. I dozed for a while then got up and packed up all my gear, Jumped into the shower well it will be while till my next one , The Post office doesn’t open till 10 so ages to wait I rechecked my supply boxes then taped them up with my boots. I now have the fidgets I want to get back onto the trail.
I’m sat in an arm chair studying my maps when a member of staff walks in and gets a bit angry that the room isn’t empty and that we should all be gone. Several hikers explain they have paid for another night but she doesn’t seem to care. She has obviously has failed her customer care exam. I moved my pack out on the veranda, out of everyone’s way then read a borrowed book while I wait for the post office to open. At last it is time to head to the post office and post my boxes, I wandered down town with 3 large boxes in my arms phew these are bloody heavy. I posted these up the trail then picked up my resupply package. Bugger I don’t need all this I should of bounced it , but I had forgotten what I had sent myself so I reluctantly took it back to the hostel. God where is this stuff going to go I wedged what I could into my pack and gave the rest away. I then topped up my water and headed off down the road to try and hitch.
It wasn’t long before a white pickup stops and I’m soon heading back to Independence and in record time He drops me at the crossroads and wishes me well .I walk around the corner and stand on the road that takes me back to the trail head
Again I was quickly had a ride, I was picked up by a couple and their three children who were off hiking for a few days. I tell them about my hike and about Oxford until we pull into the trail head I grab my pack do my thank you’s Then make my way back to the Trail As I’m walking I pass clusters of dirty hikers who have just arrived in the carpark , I warn them of the hitch to town then I’m on my way
It is almost 11 as I start my climb up Kearsarge. I feel refreshed after my stop in Lone pine so the climb isn’t too bad. As there are so many switch back it is easy to star down into the valley. I stop at the top glug some lemonade and grab a snack before pushing on, and soon I am nearing the top of Glen pass. I feel that I’m making good time so I hike on although I’m in no hurry
I’ve been told it is best to do this pass in the afternoon so I push on up the switchbacks, Most are completely obscured in snow and extremely long, My Altras that I purchased and were so pleased with are crap in this terrain I would have better grip wearing slippers so it takes me ages why did I change my boots oh well. Soon I’m scrambling up the rocky parts of the mountain, my shoes are better for this at last they are gripping. I follow the paths that numerous hikers before me have walked I’m so loving this journey.
I’m loving the views and have to keep stopping for more photos and to take it all in.
As I near the summit. I began to battle through deep snow I wonder what will the other side will be like? Hey I’ve done Forrester I can do this ha ha I say to myself .It is only snow, I say aloud. It is only snow,
At last I’m at the top I feel good although I am puffing well I’m fully laden as usual. I always carry far too much, I guess if I was faster I could carry less but then I’m doing okay. I stop at the top and gaze at the surrounding views, glug some more lemonade then begin to head down. The trail is there for a minute, and then it is just gone. Buried beneath the smooth white snow. The smooth white snow that slopes down, unbroken, to the frozen lake far below. I survey my kingdom, in the distance, I can see a large lakes but I’m not sure what it is. I think this is my destination.
It looks like the route to it is treacherous. I scan the snow for clues and fantastic I can see footprints so I follow them in my crappy shoes they seem to head out across the slope next time Snail don’t be so impulsive with your footwear
I can see the smooth tracks where people have glissaded OMG that’s far too scary for me I carefully inch my way down hoping not to slip and end up glissading myself ,I walk on trying not to look down how do people do this without poles . The snow is soft enough not to be slippery, but firm enough that I don’t posthole I am still not looking down and then the tracks end.
I have a quick panic I’m sure I’m going in the right direction. I continue on easing my way down the slope another set of tracks , great I follow them the snow is now less firm and I begin to posthole, slide on my arse swear at myself , fall on my face pick myself up and repeat . I am actually quite scared as I inch my down .I clamber over a pile of loose rocks, scare myself again and have to give myself more pep talks. You can do it Snail say. You can do it.
I reach the bottom of the slope at 6 p.m. 7 hours on the trail and I’ve gone ten miles. Why can’t I hike faster I moan to myself I am actually quite exhausted now but want to push on need to push on but now I’m postholing on every step as I need to concentrate on the trail or where it is as the snow seems to be hiding it .
At last I’m at the lakes and see several tents. They must be weekend Hikers as their tent looks luxurious I say my normal greeting and ask
“Where am I?
Rae Lakes comes the reply, are you okay?
Yes I lie I’m hiking the PCT (I know what I’m doing ha ha)
I continue on but I’m done for the day crossing snow has completely exhausted me plus I started late plus my pack is fully laden
I push myself on looking for a nice spot to pitch my tent. I trudge on and eventually I come to another lake (Arrowhead Lake) My tent is soon up and water is boiling for my tea god I’m knackered but need to sort out my socks and shoes .then a quick supper before falling into my bed exhausted and I am soon asleep a first for me