Day 52 – From Tentsite mile 772 via Kearsage Pass to Tentsite at Bullfrog lake, mile 788+

June 11.

With Forrester pass (13100 feet/4000 meter, highest point of PCT) still 7 miles out, we got a relative early start at 6.15am. The approach to Forrester pass was very beautiful. I remembered many spots and felt very happy and grateful to be here again.

The landscape in this part of the Sierra… Just awesome.

We took a break at the same spot where I had pitched my tent during my 2016 JMT hike, just before the final climb. In 2016 I was here in Juli.

Now, a month earlier, the pass had much more snow. Approaching the last climb was difficult…crossing a frozen lake, finding trail the trail under the snow.

After passing an icy snow chute and a few more demanding sections, we made to the top of the pass at 13118 feet around 12pm.

With the snow melting, we started the descend on the Northern side through big snow fields. Lots of postholing, climbing rocks to avoid the soft snow.

Once at tree level, found nice spot for lunch break, still 6 miles to crossing with Kearsage pass.

We found a beautiful spot near Bullfrog lake to spend the night before pushing over Kearsage pass tomorrow to go to town and resupply.

My favorite day on trail.

Song of today: Lenny Kravitz – Believe

Lyrics:
If you want it you got it
You just got to believe
Believe in yourself
‘Cause it’s all just a game

Day 50 – From Rock Creek to Guitar Lake, mile 767+4

June 9.

Slept well, but it seems I don’t have much reserves in my sleeping system for colder nights. This night was at 9500 feet – let’s see how it will be at 11500 feet next night at Guitar lake. I will probably add my last remaining layers of clothing – hopefully no need for the puffy though.

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Breakfast with hot coffee held with cold shaking hands. 15min later on trail, you appreciate the sun rays warming you. Funny how different that was two weeks ago during the heat wave at the end of the desert section. 30min later on trail, I am sweating. First water crossing. Easy with my boots stepping from rock to rock even with water overflowing. Everything up to the ankle is no issue.

First short break at 2.5 miles and 1500 feet up.

Next water crossing short before Rock Creek. I am showing off my boots one again… ๐Ÿ˜‚ The others went through either with their trail runners or with Crocs.

Arrived at Crabtree Meadows at 12pm for lunch with Tinkle, Cactass, Queso, Husk and Flamingo. Enjoying lunch… A Crystal Light drink, one tortilla with tuna and sunflower seeds, one with Nutella kindly donated by Tinkle.
So far my feet were holding up pretty good. But the blister patch doesn’t hold well… Need to decide what to do for tomorrow’s summit of Whitney.

Lying in the grass of the meadow. Enjoying the rest, the warmth of the sun… And music..๐Ÿ˜

Song of today: Alphaville – Forever young

We just have four miles left to go to Guitar lake, so we should arrive after 4pm. It’s gonna be great to rest so much before the big day tomorrow.

At Guitar lake, I pitched my tent just next to where I had my tent on my hike two years ago. Amazing view… And it feels great to be back. My feet felt good today… I am excited and enthusiastic about climbing up Mt Whitney tomorrow morning. As the last time, I will leave my tent behind and only take what’s needed in my pack on the climb – warm clothes, water, snacks, electronics…

Spent several hours lying in the grass here at Guitar lake… Just enjoying the view and watching the clouds.

Cactass and Queso trying a new perspective

Dinner with tea, chatting with the others. In bed by 7pm. Can see the lake from my tent.

Day 49 – From Diaz River to Rock Creek, mile 760

June 8. We started walking around 7am after a quick breakfast. After climbing a bit less than two miles up to the next meadow, we met Cactass again who was waiting for us drinking coffee.

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We agreed on Rock Creek at mile 760 as final destination for today and Guitar lake just below Mt Whitney for tomorrow.

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Chicken Spring Lake

We set off for the first 9 miles to take a break at Chicken Spring lake where we arrived around 1130am. Applied new blister care to my feet. Now it is actually only the left foot that gives me pain and trouble walking.

Nice long lunch break… Washing my feet in cold water, napping, eating, …

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Last miles become more and more difficult despite easy trail even or downhill.. Everyone seems to have trouble to perform.

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Coming by Rock Creek – at this spot, I spent my first night on trail during my 2016 John Muir Trail Through Hike

Setting up for another cold night.

Song of the day: Eddie Vedder – Long Nights

About 18 miles in total.

Day 40 – Landers Campground to Bird Spring Pass, mile 631

May 30. Got an good start, hit the trail at 6am. Slept super good. Second night in the new tent… Maybe it was the early time to go to bed…

The new tent is awesome. Actually bigger inside than the MSR. Pitching it was easy so far.

Rock formations in the morning sun

Today would be a day where we would be fully relying on water caches. There was only one off trail spring in case of emergency.

Hot day with soft sandy trail – not much shade today.

Only Joshua trees provide some shade

Carried two liters only, first stop after 7 miles at the the next water cache at mile 616. Took three liters from there for the 15 miles to the next water cache and planned tentsite for today at Bird Spring pass, mile 631.

At mile 621.5 is the 1000 KM marker… Now that’s an achievement… ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜œ

1000km. #metricsystemrules

Lunch break at mile 622, combined with longer siesta. Limited shade, everyone tries to hide under a Joshua tree.

Sitting under a Joshua tree

Album of today: The Joshua Tree – U2

Bird Spring pass was very exposed in the wind. We were glad to see that there was sufficient water in the cache, bit finding a protected spot for the tents would not be easy.

I pitched mine at a not so optimal spot… The ground was really soft and the wind was strong. I tried to give additional hold for the stakes with several rocks… But not too much improvement. The tent kept flapping in the wind and I would have very little sleep that night.

Day 35 – From Tylerhorse Canyon via Springs Road to Tehachapi, mile 558

May 25. We had planned a very early start the day before, but that didn’t really work out. So today we woke up around 4am and hit the trail by at 5am. There were just 17 miles to the highway crossing that would take us with hitchhiking to Tehachapi and with that to the long anticipated break… Food, laundry, shower…

We have been constantly increasing the daily mileage… so even this 17 miles day feels like half a day or a nero. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After some more altitude gain, the trail descended constantly with a view on a very big wind farm.

Song of today: Come on, come on – Billy Idol

My blister still hurt, but the thought of a break in Tehachapi helped pushing forward. We made it to the highway crossing around 1pm… and as usual, getting a hitchhike was no problem at all. Thank you Tehachapi citizens for being so hiker friendly!

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Hitchhiking with two dogs on the back seat. Everyone is happy, and the dogs enjoyed licking some dirty and sweaty hikers…
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Food at Denny’s just opposite of the hotel

After lunch checking in to the Holiday Express, I picked up my new home for the next 5 months… My ZPacks Duplex tent! ๐Ÿ˜ So excited…

Left: MSR Hubba hubba (1.7kg), right: Zpacks Duplex (0.6kg)

We didn’t really do much in the evening. After dinner at Subway’s, everyone was just exhausted. Two more lazy days in town with lots of food, rest and a movie or two to come.