Rock Creek (PCT mile 760) to Tyndall Creek (mile 774.7)
(14.7 miles, +3,600/-2,400 feet).
I slept pretty well last night, though it’s always a little annoying to deal with cold and wet shoes, socks, clothes, tents, and sleeping bags. I was also starting to worry about Forester and felt the need to cover lots of miles to get set up for an early morning climb tomorrow.
However, on the bright side, I discovered a bonus for camping near the ranger cabin: a privy!
I finished my business and was on trail by 5:30am. It was swampy and icy in some places as the trail wound its way around Rock Creek.
My first task today was to cross Rock Creek, which was no easy task. The creek is already raging from the snow melt and I had a hard time finding a log to cross it. When I finally did find it, I mistakenly thought I should walk across it. I was terrified until I realized I could just crawl on all fours, which was super easy.
Next I needed to climb up to Guyot Pass.
A little below the pass is a big meadow called Guyot Flat. I shortcut the PCT again here, walking across the snow covered field.
As I descended toward Whitney Creek, I got my first glimpse of Mount Whitney.
The descent wasn’t always pretty — I spent as much time sliding as hiking.
I found a nice shady spot next to Whitney Creek for lunch. It was extremely calm, in stark contrast to all the other raging creeks I have been passing so far. I counted trout as I lazed on the shore.
After lunch I climbed up to Sandy Meadow, which offered beautiful views of the Kaweah, where Ultrashuffle and I hiked last summer.
I exited the meadow and was at least a quarter mile off the trail when I discovered a sign seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It indicated another sign 30 feet off the ground that is apparently used in the snow survey:
On the descent to Wallace Creek I passed through a few more meadows.
I faced another steep slide down towards Wallace Creek but I was getting used to it so I didn’t fall as much.
There were no logs to cross Wallace Creek, but the summer crossing had a nice dam of rocks that calmed the water making for an easy thigh-deep ford.
The ascent out of Wallace Creek was on a south facing slope, so it was actually dry for a little while.
After a short climb, the trail crossed Wright Creek, which was raging. Fortunately there was a snow bridge upstream.
A long slow ascent brought me to the Bighorn Plateau, a series of meadows that gradually flattens out into a pass below Tawny Point.
After the pass, the long slow climb turned into a long slow descent towards Tyndall Creek.
I was out of water, so very glad to find an opening at the outlet from some lakes above Tyndall Creek.
Tyndall Creek had many snow bridges, so I crossed over and looked for a place to camp. Mount Tyndall would guard me as I slept.
Sleeping on snow is not so bad. I brought a closed cell pad in addition to my neoair, so I stayed warm. It is, however, annoying to deal with getting in and out of the tent and keeping things dry (well, minimizing the wet anyway). I ate dinner with my shoes on but placed outside the tent so I could finish my nightly chores afterwards before taking them off for good for the evening.