I wake up to another beautiful day at Rae Lakes. The scenery at this place is really amazing.
What’s even more amazing: I have been warned about the merciless mosquitoes here, but not a single bug has shown up. It is now over a week ago that I’ve seen the last of those bloodsuckers.
The John Muir Trail continues along the eastern shore of Middle Rae Lake and then crosses the isthmus between Middle and Upper Lake. There are some nice campsites as well.
Soon the climb to Glen Pass starts. When I’m half way up a little girl coming down asks me what time it is. When I tell her, her father responds You’re the guy from Austria, right?
WTF? He couldn’t possible have recognized the accent from the three words I said! But of course: Rob, Peter and John are ahead of me and asked them on the pass whether they have seen a tall Austrian guy – I guess that’s description enough.
So I know that I’ll probably catch up to them later in the day. Probably when they are drying their tent during a break, a habit I could repeatedly observe in the last days. So from now on I shall look out for a big yellow thing in a tree.
Glen Pass isn’t the flat, easy stroll I got used to and even looks a little alpine when you’re standing on top of it. It has rather steep slopes on either side, but again the switchbacks make the ascent as well as the descent very unproblematic.
Again the view is absolutely amazing – there are peaks everywhere – and again there is no cell service on the pass.
And yet again Kevin shows up during my break. This seems to become a habit, but this is probably really the last time we meet. He will hike out over Kearsage Pass to Independence today to pick up another food supply and spend a zero day there. I, however, will continue straight on to Mount Whitney. So it is time for a last goodbye photo.
Shortly after Kevin Melissa and the bearded guy show up as well, I finally get to know the beard’s name: Munro.
When I head down the rocky trail towards Charlotte Lake, a group of horse riders passes me. What a convenient way to do the JMT!
After Charlotte Lake it’s further down, down, down, all the way to Lower Vidette Meadow.
There I finally spot the yellow tent hanging in the trees. In fact this shady place near a stream is a very nice spot for a rest and I enjoy chatting a lot of familiar faces – 16-days-guy is also here, apparently he is about to finish in 17-18 days. Close enough.
A ranger passes by and we expect our permits to be checked for the first time since Half Dome, but she doesn’t really care about permits, just wanting to have a chat, where to go, give some advice…
I am at the lowest point (roughly 2900 m) for today, here begins the ascent through Bubbs Creek that will bring me up to Forester Pass 13200 ft (4009 m) above sea level.
And it’s a loooong ascent again through a nicely graded valley. I soon meet Frederick again – I like his approach to tackle the trail: He starts early every day, then hikes slowly and has a chat with everybody that passes him.
There seems to be a consensus to target the last campsites below Forester Pass, when I reach an unnamed lake at 11220 ft (3420 m) Rob, Peter and John have already set up their tents there and show me another free site.
During dinner (a Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles – honestly not my favourite, but very filling) we have a long chat. While I still enjoy the mild temperatures they seem to be really freezing and start putting on layer after layer of clothing. I guess that’s the difference between living in Austria and the desert of Arizona.
It’s another windy night again, but I sleep well looking forward to tomorrow: My first 4000 m – errr – summit. Needless to say that I don’t expect a difficult climb… 😉
Distance hiked on JMT: 13.8 mi / 22.2 km
Elevation gained: 3000 feet / 900 meters
Time spent hiking (including breaks): 7:45 h
Maps of Day 16:
|<<< Day 15: Pinchot Pass & Rae Lakes <<<||Day 16||>>> Day 17: Crossing Forester Pass (4009m) >>>|