Trail Pass to Guyot Creek
Mile 745.3 – Mile 761.7
Contrary to what I told you yesterday about camping high, I set out this morning to climb up Cottonwood Pass. I started at 10,500 and the pass is only another 600 feet or so higher. Unfortunately those 600 feet were on a north facing slope that still held a good amount of snow.
Trying to follow the trail through a snow laden forest proved challenging and I had to search for the trail often. The net result was slow, hard won progress through those sections I dubbed 1 mph zones.
The snow was consolidated and firm to walk on though exposed areas were sun cupped. I had to don my mountain shades to protect my eyes from the glare but did not need my spikes.
I was able to get signal at Cottonwood Pass making me happy and I sat in a cool little cave while I connected with the outside world.
Navigating up and out of the pass proved the most difficult route finding of the day as the trail skirted a snow and rock covered bowl at the bottom of which was the half thawed Chicken Spring Lake. It was a frustrating scramble over snow and rocks to find my way out.
Slow and steady until I officially entered Sequoia National Park. The panorama was spectacular with green meadows low leading to darker forested hills and capped by grey granite splendor as far as the eye could see.
Today also marked the first significant creek crossing sans bridge. Rock Creek was flowing at high volume and the roar could be heard miles before. Fortunately a log had fallen just upstream and provided a precarious passage over the swift current. I watched several hikers who apparently did not like the looks of the log, ford the waist deep creek. The other side was boggy meadow so unfortunately after the log I still got my feet wet. Next time I’ll remember to take my socks and insoles out so they don’t get wet unnecessarily. Live and learn.
It was a long day of hard hiking most of it above 11,000 feet. I know I can’t expect to get the same mileage that I’ve come to expect but part of me tries anyway. I am not in good position to do the Mt Whitney side trip so will leave it for another time and spend tomorrow getting positioned to go over 13,153 ft Forester Pass on Monday.