Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 55 -Two Passes

June 19, 2012
Day 55
Miles: 21
Total Miles: 825

click to see full size image

I hiked over Pinchot Pass and Mather Pass today.  After Mather Pass there was a long slog down past the Palisade Lake on the "Golden Staircase".  This section of trail descends down a cliff face very steeply.  The trail is cut into the cliff and many spots are extremely steep and winding.  Here is a link on the staircase with it's history.  This section was the final section of the John Muir Trail completed in 1938.  I hiked down the staircase in the evening after already hiking 18 miles over two passes earlier in the day.  My feet were really sore and if I knew about the descent before I climbed down it I probably would have camped at the lake instead.

Sierra Waterfall
But I can't complain, for I just climbed over two gorgeous passes on the JMT - arguably one of the most scenic trails in the world!  There is a saying that I recently read concerning another long distance trail - the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) - that says "Embrace The Brutality".  It refers to the point you get to on a long-distance hike where you know you can handle anything and everything thrown at you.  Once you're out here for weeks on end and have experienced the gail-force winds, desert heat, cold and frosty nights and bone-chilling river fords enough times you gain a sort of confidence that you will make it through and cope with whatever conditions you find yourself in.  And once you begin to embrace that, you can relax and let go of the fear and enjoy the knowledge that you will get through it no matter what it is and you will be rewarded.  I think I am beginning to get to this point.  It's an incredible feeling to know you can handle it - whatever it is.  The feeling of freedom that comes from this is amazing.


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PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!