Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 72

Day- 72
Date- 6-25-16
Location- Near stream
Elevation- 7,756
Distance Traveled Today- 20.3
Distance Traveled Total- 982.4 miles
Weather/Temp-  clear 30s-70s
Injuries- none
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- confident
Days without shower- 5
Hunger/craving- low


Got going a little after 7, and felt fantastic. I knocked out the first 1,600 ft climb over Benson Pass in about an hour and a half. After descending a little ways,  I passed a lake. As the trail wrapped around the lake,  I kept my eyes open for trout,  and spotted an albino swimming on the surface.  I don’t know how rare albino trout are,  but it was the first one I’ve ever seen.  I threw a line for about 15 mins to no avail.


As I was wrapping up the fishing,  I heard a rumbling noise, like thunder. It grew louder very quickly,  and I thought a jet was about to fly over me.  It was when I heard an incredibly loud “crack,” that I spun around to see what was going on.  Several hundred yards away,  high up on a granite peak,  an avalanche was in process.  I’d say close to a hundred tons of snow and ice had slid off the giant slab of rock,  and come crashing down on a lower area.  For a split second I felt panic,  but soon realized I was way out of harm’s way.  I tried to record the last bit of it,  but only managed to catch a small trickle of snow coming down.  It was an awesome sight to behold,  and the sounds were larger than life.


I carried on down the mountain,  got lost for about ten minutes,  got unlost, and made my way all the way down before taking lunch next to a cascading stream.  I ate, then swam for about ten minutes,  then laid on the rocks and air dried for another 40 minutes before pushing on.


I crushed the next 1400 foot climb up Seavey Pass in just over an hour. I’ve felt incredibly strong this past week, despite having the early symptoms of a respiratory infection.


Up and over Seavey I went,  then caught six hikers I hadn’t seen in more than a month.  Catching and passing people that I haven’t seen in weeks,  or since the beginning of the trek has been one of the coolest aspects of moving this fast, and this relentless. Getting to catch up with them, and see that they are doing well, and still on trail,  adds an extra positive tone to my day.

I finished up around 6:30 pm with 20 miles today, after going over two snow covered passes, fishing,  swimming,  sunning,  and conversing. I’ve reached a point in my stamina, that I can hike hard, and still smell the roses, enjoy myself,  and have daylight to relax in at the end of the day.


Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks since setting out from Kennedy Meadows. I have 15 miles to go in order to cross out of Yosemite,  and 35 miles to reach the first road that bisects the trail in more than 300 miles.  If I can reach that road tomorrow, my Sierra Marathon will be complete,  and I will have beat my deadline by more than a day.

I’m going to give 35 miles my best shot tomorrow,  but it all depends on the terrain and snow packs I encounter. Whatever happens, I’ve made the deadline to get my fur baby back…

Nearly every single night for the past two weeks,  I’ve fallen asleep to the sound of a near or distant waterfall.  Always the sound of rushing/crashing water out here in the High Sierra, I love it.

Go to Day 73.

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