Day 56: (14 miles)
mile 751 – 766 (Crabtree Meadows)
Today was a relatively “easy” day as we mostly followed a 10000ft contour line. Of course there were descents and ascents taking us to water and our first “river” crossing.
This required us to remove our footwear and wade into icy cold run-off water that is filling the creeks and rivers, and even leaching onto the trail. Because the trail is well worn, a trough of sorts is created wherein the current run-off from the quickly melting snow tends to settle, often making for a rocky and/or soggy traverse.
We talk about everything and nothing. We solve the world’s problems…playing “if I were king/queen for the day”. We get a little “trail delirium” as evident by the photo below.
Water is plentiful and the temperature is perfect. As we hike , we barely sweat. We laugh about how in the desert we planned our days around water and now we plan them around summiting peaks and passes. Talk turns to Whitney. To summit or not to summit. So far my altitude medication seems to be working and I’ve reached a new “high” over 11000+ feet. We decide we will try, and call it if my head starts to hurt. We now begin our descent into Crabtree Meadows… Pretty steep with some (actually A LOT… for me) big steps down and my left knee is becoming Very unhappy.. to the point of near mutiny. It may take me longer to descend Whitney than to climb it. Hmmm.
We get to Crabtree and are greeted by scurrying marmots and grazing deer as well as little native and rainbow trout swimming in the stream that runs through the meadow. We set up camp and Paul thinks it best we don’t do Whitney as he’d rather my knee last the whole trip and not risk destroying it climbing a peak, that is not part of the PCT, and we can do anytime as a stand alone adventure. Paul has a good point and frankly he’s right…yes I told him so verbally (I’m sure he’s marked the date in his head). I’m a little sad cause I know how bad he wanted to do it, but relieved in a way…headache, sore knee(s) with superior heights which terrify me will wait for another day. As we finish dinner and plan out our next day’s quest…to Forrester Pass, Arizona and Hemlock arrive. Hurray! People our age(ish), as most of the other hikers, while nice, are really young and fast and make us(me) feel old and infirmed. Arizona and Hemlock will summit tomorrow. We see Indy and Art Gypsy as they return from summiting Whitney. They look beat and confirm they are gased, but it was spectacular and well worth their tired legs and headache. They also confirm my big step concerns. We feel even better about our decision.