Saturday, September 10, 2016

High Sierra Trail – Day 6 (Saturday)

[Maryanne]Starting from Wallace creek, we hiked today to upper Crabtree meadows (from 10,400 to 10,600’). The day started with a few steep 30 minute climbs followed by dips down. The day felt easy – we only travelled 4.3 miles, and we were done by 11am (most of the day spent dawdling and chatting with other campers). Here Julio and Greg would pass us and continue on, so be bid farewell to our fellow hikers.

We are definitely finding the hiking easier as the trip proceeds - the views remain splendid

Crabtree meadows is a huge camp site, and we were amazed (given our early arrival) to find a tent already setup in the prime spot for the views. Later in the afternoon the tent’s owner arrived, indicating that he’d just done a day hike up Mount Whitney (and back, almost 15 miles round trip of steep climb on rocky trails, with little more than a bottle of water and some granola bars – in seven hours). Since we were going to take 2 days to do as much, we were quite taken by the young man’s stamina. Now, rather than rest, he was off to hike (with his tent and belongings) in the other direction and make it to yet another camp site (Wallace Creek) before dark. We were feeling our age (but enjoying our rest too much to care).

Once he moved on, we moved our tent into the now open spot with views of Mount Whitney, so we could ponder our future. Mt Whitney is bookended with rocky mountains, and below that we had views of a sequoia forest, the meadow makes a big clearing below that and a stream passes through that – quite beautiful. Today the sky was filled with fluffy clouds, which occasionally puts us in a shadow and has us reaching for our jackets.

Other hikers passed, one indicated that she had acquired a walk up permit and shipped her resupply provisions that same afternoon.

With plenty of time we took a stroll around the meadow. The ranger station here doubles as a shelter for the snow surveyors that visit in winter; their efforts and measurements are important for predicting the California water supply levels expected for the coming year. The campsite also had signs for a toilet, which (even following the signs) we struggled to find. Eventually we found it, and discovered it so basic and unpleasant, agreed we’d simply disregard it and manage without. (The privacy was close to non existent and the flies were abundant!).

Exploring Crabtree Meadow - we eventually found the toilet (but wish we hadn't)

Kyle found the ranger and got a weather report for Mount Whitney. (looking good). Weather wise we’ve been amazingly lucky on the hike so far, only 6 drops of rain (per Kyle), and mostly blue skies and reasonable temperatures.

Camping with another beautiful view - this time we can see Mount Whitney

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