Miles - 22
I sleep in today as does BLT. Well I say sleep in, I don’t start walking till 8am, no signs of life from BLT so I pack quietly. It’s cold outside but I don’t mind though as the meadow is a lovely place to waste time. The deer have gone. I pass through the meadow silently and cross the river using stepping stones. I’m heading up and over Forrester Pass today. Its 13200 ft, the highest point of the PCT. I don’t think it’s going to be a bad climb as I start the serious part at 11000 ft. It’s a slow ascent up though and I climb a bit in the morning and get ten miles in. I pass by a few rivers and shady woods and begin the slow treeless walk up. It’s not steep at all and I gain a few 100 feet over 3-4 miles. Lots of John Muir hikers pass me, we exchange the usual nods. It’s getting hotter and neither of us want to stop.
I hike by a beautiful lake which shimmers in the sun, it’s completely out in the open, just standing alone and I would love to go for a swim. After a while no one is around and it’s just me and the mountains. I pass a few lakes which I think are glaciers and see the odd marmot. I’m walking on the hard stoney mountain as the sandy path fades. I can’t see where it goes until I’m right at the base, its does the usual zig zag ascent and I begin. I’m very slow as per usual but I keep going.
The scenery grows with each step and pairs of grey and red birds flit and play. I don’t see anyone till I’m at the top. A group of guys are waiting, they’ve been there a while as they wait for some of their group to catch up. I take a few photos then begin my speedy descent to make up time. I poke the snow with my yucca sticks and keep going. I pass exhausted ascenders and the pair who are with the group at the top - the ones they were waiting for and one if suffering majorly from altitude sickness. I park up next to the lovely flowing river, drink and eat, then I speed down through the valley of trees, it’s 4.5 miles to the Middle Vidette campsite. I’m glad it’s all down hill. Happy because it makes a change from going up and also because I can go faster and outrun the mosquitos which hound me. Down in the valley below I can see huge clusters of dark green trees. They cover everything and look still and welcoming.
I speed along and don’t see any others till I get to the campsite where there are a large of group of hikers who’ve all come together along the way. I join them round the campfire which is keeping mozzies away. One hiker attempts to make Ethiopian fire bread then another catches a trout which we cook and eat. We pile our bear canisters by the fire and head off to sleep one by one. It feels good to cowboy camp. I lay there content as colourful cocoons of the others sleeping bags lay here and there. The sound of the furious river storms by. I hear the occasional mozzie buzz by but I remain unaffected.