Pass on the Passes

A relaxing morning in Bishop, but we had to pick up a rental car to get to the town of Mammoth, 40 miles away.  That was the only place we could get Jen a doctor appointment on a Saturday.

Nothing serious,  she has just been plagued by a cough whenever we were climbing above 8,000′.  It was no big deal down south as we didn’t spend much time above that elevation. But here in the Sierra we were well above that, often sleeping at 11,000′.

As expected, the doc diagnosed exercise induced asthma and gave her an inhaler.

The drive was on US395, a road that sure feels like home.

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Day 70 – 0 / 788

A real Zero, with no errands other than return the car and then hitch a ride to Independence, where we would stay overnight.

But before leaving Bishop, we had to stop at the Mountain Light gallery, home of Galen Rowell’s fantastic landscape photography. Rowell has been an inspiration of mine ever since I took up photography in the late ’80’s.

Once we got to Independence and checked into our hotel, we watched a light show worthy of a Rowell print.

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Day 71 – 0 / 788

Our morning started not too early, as we had a 7am breakfast call at the Mt Williamson Motel.  Once we were done, Strider, the owner of the motel and a hiker, shuttled us up to the trailhead.

If you’re ever driving on US395, do yourself a favor and stay a night or three at the Mt Williamson Motel. Strider calls it base camp for good reason, as Mt Whitney, Bristlecone National Monument and many other places are a short drive away.

Our climb started immediately and lasted for just over four miles.  It was a slow climb as we were both loaded with eight days of food, the amount of time we expected to take to get to our next resupply in Mammoth.

Even with the load it quickly became apparent that having Jen on the inhaler was a huge success.  Only a handful of coughs the whole way up.

We lunched at the top of Kearsarge Pass (11,790′), then beat feet towards the PCT, a few miles distant.  As soon as we got back on that trail, we started climbing. And climbing. And climbing.

We were approaching our second pass of the day, Glen Pass (11,968′).  The approach left a lot to be desired, as it was an old trail full of rocks and steps ranging from 12-20″ tall.  So it wasn’t just the climb, but a hundred or so weighted step-ups, all above 11,000′.

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We were glad to have decided to eat dinner on the summit, as we descended into a valley with a couple of lakes and at least 83 bazillion mosquitoes. That meant we just had to set up camp quickly once we found a spot.

We knew we found the right spot when we passed a bear on the lake shore noshing on a fish.  We knew we had good company.

Day 72 – 13 / 793

In al honesty, neither of us enjoyed this day. The weather was perfect and the scenery continued to be breathtaking, but for the majority of the day the trail itself left a lot to be desired.

We did cross 800 miles without fanfare.  Not even a rock sign to signify the point.

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Our dinner views atop Pinchot Pass (12,142′).  

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Plus a view of where we would camp that night, next to the second lake in the picture.

Day 73 – 15 / 808

Please helps us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource: http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j

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6 thoughts on “Pass on the Passes”

  1. Happy Jen can breathe without coughing!! What a journey the two of you are having and lucky us who can live it vicariously!! The pictures are outstanding!

  2. Beautiful landscape photos. Sorry to hear about Jennifer having some health issues. So glad it is not too serious and she can use an inhaler to assist with the cough. Love you all!! Praying for you two!

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