10 August 2022
Palisade Lakes to Marjorie Lake
(12 miles, +2,700/-2,200 feet).
The past two days have been tough with heavy packs and soaking wet conditions. But it finally looks like we might have a dry(ish) day!
And we are not that far from Mather Pass, so I feel a lot less worried about making it up and over the high point for the day before any storms roll through.
The stroll along Palisade Lakes this morning was luxurious. I was able to take in a lot more than I did the last time I raced through here on my PCT thru-hike attempt.
Soon we were climbing above the lakes up towards Mather Pass.
The view from the pass was amazing! And we took advantage of intermittent sunlight to dry out all our gear.
South of Mather Pass we entered Upper Basin, one of my absolute favorite places in the Sierra. It is so remote and wide-open, it feels like I am in a completely different universe.
We stopped to collect some water at the first tarn in Upper Basin. It has rained so much this past week that many flowers are now under a couple of feet of water!
I felt a little sad when we reached treeline.
But the best site of the day was just ahead.
Half Cookie spotted a bear, about 30 feet off trail!
It was digging for bugs in a rotten log.
It was small-ish, so probably an adolescent, but no other bear was around, so we didn’t have to worry about a protective mom.
We watched it for a while and then moved on.
A short while later we spotted some deer. But, well, I guess you could say they had been upstaged!
Soon we made it down to the South Fork Kings river crossing. In high water years this is a tough crossing, but today it was just a wade. I took my shoes off right away, but Half Cookie and UltraShuffle tried to find a rock hop. They eventually gave up and threw their shoes across the river.
Half Cookie’s shoes made it. Sort of.
UltraShuffle wasn’t so lucky. But his shoe ended up in an eddy where it could be retrieved. Whew!
The next tributary was a little easier to negotiate.
One of the very tough things about hiking the Sierra in the monsoon is that you need to get over passes early in the day before lightning presents a risk. But this means you have to end each day with a climb to get close enough to the next pass to set up for the following day.
So we were exhausted, but we needed to climb.
At least it wasn’t raining!
When we finally got to Lake Marjorie it was pretty busy, but we managed to find a dry spot for two tents.
This was definitely my favorite day so far. Half Cookie’s foot seems to be cooperating, and we are all tired, but happy.