Day 51: Mather Pass

Memories from June 10

I started out early as I do for most passes. The pre-sunrise light and clouds made a great show over the walls of the valley on the approach to Mather Pass.

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I’d planned on keeping my feet dry as much as possible (some days you just give up or decide it’s not worth the hassle). Unfortunately, just a mile or so in, I slipped off this rock on a trivial rock hop over an insignificant stream. Also, while I don’t know for sure it was here, I might have lost a water bottle when I slipped here since I now only have one.

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I was following tracks over the snow an when they disappeared into a patch of dirt and rock, I pulled out my map and misidentified the pass. I thought it was between the small reddish one on the left and the left of the center ridge in picture below. It’s actually just to the right of the picture.

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There were two other people in the valley, both of whom were also lost. Maverick was following tracks to the wrong pass and Bourbon’s GPS wasn’t getting a fix. Collectively, we found the trail and stayed in a loose group until getting down the other side.

A view of Mather from just below the switchbacks.

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Having crested the pass.

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The way down.

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Bourbon lost control on an icy glissade and scraped his legs up but we found all the gear which had fallen out of his pack.

Descent to the valley.

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We split up after the lake and I flew downhill. It was a long stretch down and Bourbon naturally hikes quickly which pushed me into super hiker mode where I run/jump over obstacles and become like a four legged animal with how much I use my trekking poles. I descended the Golden Staircase at breakneck speed. On the way down, I ran across Mama Lion and her son Boon who are hiking the PCT together. This is the second time I’ve seen kids on the trail and it impressed me a great deal.

The plan was to go 15 miles and then regroup and decide how much farther to go. I ate and dozed. A bee came to visit.

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I woke to the crunching sound of a boot on trail just in time see Lilly wave at me and keep hiking. I packed up, drew water, and got back to my pack in time to see Camille looking around for me. He informed me that the plan was to go to Big Pete Meadow about five miles away.

The rest of the day wasn’t particularly eventful. There were mosquitoes in camp and I hope it’s not a trend which continues. There were some more clouds in the evening than usual but I cowboy camped anyways.

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