July 1 – Waterfall Cool Off and Boot Skiing

“People are strong and fragile, courageous and scared, and this is all illuminated in the backdrop of a mosaic of inanimate forces which are far greater than us. We are there in the mountains, and in the rivers, but they don’t care if we are there. Water would flow if we stepped in or not. The stages of a river, would go on in their sequence with or without us.”
-Chinchilla, PCT Hiker that I admire

VVR to Cascade Valley turn off at Fish Creek
11.8 miles

Water, water, water was the theme for the day, but not in a bad way. With the trip back across Lake Edison in the morning behind us, we faced the Mono Creek crossings. We crossed in our usual pattern. Silly ahead and then Dan holding on to my ice axe on the back of my pack while we crossed together. But this is the deal… behind us were families that were heading out for a hike. I am hoping they turned around. I can’t imagine being a small child and having your dad drag you across the raging torrent and EVER wanting to hike again.

Wired had given us trail conditions and helpful tips for the next section the night before on the cell at VVR. She is currently is at Mammoth Lakes. BTW: Wired is doing an amazing job on her PCT website, very comprehensive and detailed, a lot of work and dedication. You can follow her from the link in the right sidebar.

After ascending up, up, up and just after Pocket Meadow was my favorite water crossing yet, under the cooling waterfall of Silver Pass Creek. There is a video below. Wired had passed through this just a couple of days before during the storm. At that time the cooling mist and spray for us was a very cold, threatening, stream of water for her team. It is amazing to me how timing, temperature, and weather play such an important part in our basic survival.

The ascent of Silver Pass is easy and snowy. Just walk, walk, walk with wet heavy shoes and microspikes. The view from the top of Mount Banner and Ritter is unparalleled. Upon reaching frozen Squaw Lake (normally one of my favorites to swim in the Sierras) there was a SUPER fun long glissade.

So I wanted to talk about mounds, drifts, piles of snow, or just call them a pain in the neck. They appear for miles when the snow has melted off PART of the trail. A hiker walks on trail (actual ground), then there is a big mound of snow to walk UP and over, then descend down. Of course, I like the descend down and do a short boot ski (slide on one or two feet) down the other side. WELL these mounds make an otherwise easy flat trail into an aerobic experience the eats up time and energy!!!! We were one with these mounds for the rest of the day down to Fish Creek. The great part is the steep descent made for great long boot skiing. This is where you ski down on your boots sometimes for a few minutes. So fun.

We are now basking in alpenglow (golden light right before sunset), enjoying a warm fire, and our company of family with raging Fish Creek echoing LOUD. Water.

Crossing Silver Creek

Chief Lake below Silver Pass

Squaw Lake

Glissade we just came down

Fish Creek campsite


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