Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 67 (7/23) Leaving the Valley

I definitely  had wanted to do a quick stop here at VVR, so the plan was to leave this morning. I got up early, grabbed a huge breakfast of steak, eggs, pancakes and hash browns before packing up my gear. Turns out that Boyscout, Karma and Number One wouldn't be ready for the ferry around 9:30, so it was just Jeanie and I taking off north on the PCT. I closed out my shocking $100 tab (mostly food, but also beer, the package fee and ferry ride) then said my goodbyes. I'd met a number of cool JMT folks, but most of them were hiking out the Bear Ridge trail to save the ferry fee. It was only a mile extra southbound, but 5 extra northbound, so that was an easy decision for me since these miles don't count.

Back on the trail, our sights were set squarely on Silver Pass. Well, at least mentally, because we couldn't see the actual pass until the last half mile before it. On the way up there were three stream crossings we'd been warned on. The first was easily handled by walking over a downed tree. The second was very hyped up, and when we saw some people crossing downstream at a fork we went that way. We ended up bushwhacking back to the trail only to discover a crossing that didn't stand up to any of Bear, Evolution or Kings. Oh well. The final water experience was a waterfall crashing into the trail, and a dozen feet of wet rocks to traverse. It looked worse than it was, and despite being forced to wet our feet, we made it fine.

Silver Pass was another relatively low one, and most of the ascent was snow-free. The descent featured a mile of snow, and I had the chance to glissade on one good slope. When we got off the snow we turned on cruise again and rolled down to Tully Hole. From here the trail climbs a steep face with a series of tight switchbacks. This was tiring at the end of the day, but it was good to get it done now. We made camp down by Lake Virginia (which only slightly resembles the state). Jeanie is still carrying the two person tent she and Mike used, and I was amazed how easily one person was able to set it up. I won the race to set up camp, but just barely... We were serenaded all night by the sound if frogs ribbetting out on the lake.

Miles Today: 12 (+1.5  off trail)
Trip Mileage: 891

Photo: Standing atop a snowy Silver Pass

Photo: Virgina Lake - you can't really see the shape from here... 

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