Saturday, June 21, 2014

PCT Diaries - Day 30 Mile 450

Kings Canyon National Park needs a new Marketing Director. Sure, there's a canyon there but its nothing compared to the Grand Canyon so most people aren't aware of it. Did Evel Knievel jump over it in a rocket car? Nope. 

This land is far too awe-inspiring for its national park to be so unknown.

In Kings Canyon National Park the PCT and John Muir Trail (they're the same for about 200 miles) wind through some of the most spectacular and majestic land I've ever set eyes on. 

The past week was highlighted by four mountain passes over 11,000 feet that linked together five gorgeous valleys, each unique in its beauty. 

There was snow and ice and boulder fields and many many switchbacks. Lakes and rivers and streams and waterfalls. 
Cliffs and buttresses and cathedrals of rock at every turn. 

One valley was narrow, above timberline and the still frozen lakes gave an Antarctic vibe. Another was filled with glistening lakes connected by a stream like jewels on the necklace of a Barroness. 

To wit... Some High Sierras porn... 

Cool clouds.

My finger ready to go for a chilly swim.

Our gang outside the John Muir hut atop the pass of the same name (l to r: The Original Polar Bear, Wild Card, Beacon, me)

A cold morning hike down from Muir Pass.

Today I'm in Mammoth, CA taking another well-earned day off and shopping for gear. 450 miles in and my Oboz shoes are still in terrific condition, but they do need new insoles. REI staffer appeared to have been right when she told me they'd last 1000 miles. But my sleeping pad has seen better days. It's five years old and I've patched a couple holes and still need to re-blow it up twice during the middle of each night. And even after submerging it in a motel swimming pool it is super difficult to locate what I now believe to be a number of very tiny holes. So I've bought a new one that will hopefully lead to better sleep at night. 

Next up is Yosemite in two more days of hiking. The trail just skirts through the park and I want to spend a few days there, so I'm going to try to score a home base campsite for a couple nights and get out on some bonus hikes. 

The part of this journey that initially drew me out here is almost done -- the John Muir Trail. I've been out a month and have one month left, a month in which I expect to try to slow it down a bit and enjoy more days off. My goal is not to bust my ass hitting certain mileage, but to maximize the time that I have in this beautiful country. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update and the stunning pictures. Beautiful. Press on!