6/24/18 – Kearsarge Pass
7.5 miles off trail to Onion Valley
It happened just before dusk last night, Dave and I were already in our tent trying to go to sleep, when a ranger came by with three or four horses in tow. They headed north up switchbacks towards Kearsarge Pass trail when one of the horses slipped and fell down. He wasn’t able to stand up on his own and we could hear the ranger calling for help which arrived later at night. We saw a horse in that general area in the morning up and grazing. Hopefully they were able to help him.
In the morning the trail takes us on a mellow meander along Bullfrog Lake in which surrounded peaks reflect, towards Kearsarge Pass. It is a cool morning, much cooler than I expected considering the warm night, and I appreciate the shaded hike. The last climb towards the pass is also in shade and switchbacked well. We are at the top at 8:15 a.m. together with other thru-hikers, weekenders, and day hikers. The views are spectacular. It’s hard to leave but the we have a long descent ahead of us. Scenic but very long. I’m already dreading the climb back with 6 days worth of food on my back.
At the trailhead we secure a ride with a couple from SoCal who are returning from a weekend trip and by noon we are in Independence. The town is small, few hotels, a cafe, couple gas stations. It’s extremely hot and we appreciate the air conditioned room of our hotel where we can take care of town chores. At $120 a night plus $15.00 for laundry, Mt. Williamson is not the cheapest place to stay in town but it’s super hiker friendly, there is good shampoo and a good conditioner, and a lotion available to hikers, the laundry is done for us and in the morning we have a breakfast which considering the lack of restaurants in town is a great plus. Our room is clean equipped with fridge and microwave, and TV. In a need of rest we chill watching a part of some vampire movie for after our chores are done, then head to the local co-op to meet Swayed for dinner and drinks.
I will be hiking the JMT this year sobo, but getting off at Kearsarge Pass. It nice to see it and hear about it.