6/22/18 – Of Heat and Altitude

Day 2

Miles: 760.47 to 774.72

We are up at 5:00, out of camp by 6:00 which is good considering we only managed to squeeze in one overnight trip this year and we’re little rusty on our breaking camp skills.

The first hill, 800 feet of elevation gain which start right after we creatively cross Rock Creek on a series of strategically placed logs, is actually not bad at all. The hard work starts afterwards.

We have another 900 feet to climb to reach Crabtree Meadow where most PCT hikers take a detour to climb Mt. Whitney, and then more elevation yet to reach intersection with John Muir Trail.

Crabtree Meadow is beautiful. Verdant green at this time of the year, with a stream flowing through that is full of small fish.

Once in the JMT, we are in more familiar territory, just hiking it the opposite direction than we did four years ago. The trail climbs bringing us back to high altitude and the sun is relentless today. Between the altitude and the heat my performance starts failing and I’m going slower and slower and need more frequent rests in shade. It’s incredible how the altitude can suck the wind out of you. I’m huffing and puffing on a grade that lower down would not be challenging at all. Dave is huffing and puffing right behind me.

Mosquitoes are out today as well. They are annoying but they could be worse. Much worse. Putting my wind shirt on during breaks keep them from getting what they want.

After a lunch at Wallace Creek we have more uphill to go. I’m trying my best to walk slowly and steadily to get to the top on this hill where Bighorn Plateau awaits. Bighorn Plateau with its incredible views was one of the highlights of JMT and I’m curious how it look now in the beginning of the season. It’s greener and where was a small tarn is a decent size lake.

Bighorn Plateau marks the climb I for today. We cruise down to Tyndall Creek where we are camping tonight. Tyndall Creek is so far the most challenging one to cross. We manage to find calmer section after about 5 minutes and from there we walk into our campsite with totally cool views of the peaks around us. One of the views is in direction of Forester Pass, the highest point of the entire PCT. We are heading there tomorrow morning. I have a feeling my lungs are about to work really really hard.