Wright Creek to Forester Pass Approach
Mile 771 – Mile 776
Camping above 10,000 feet when overnight temperatures don’t drop below freezing made for a pleasant night but didn’t help stem the flow of Wright Creek. I set off into the unknown upstream hoping for some change and began to wonder if I’d find any. It was tough walking through a severely sun cupped meadow carved in half by the serpentine Wright Creek.
I spotted an area where shore was visible on my side and the current looked manageable. I stripped to my skivvies and put my shoes back on for the attempt. About midway, with water approaching my waist, I reached my limit and retreated. I got all of the unpleasant freeze of 7am dip and none of the gratification. I sat facing the rising sun for some time massaging life back into my toes.
I resumed my search upstream fairly convinced I would have to walk a long way when in all unlikelihood a snow bridge appeared. It wouldn’t be passable for much longer but I deemed it safe enough and just like that, I was across. The unsavory prospect of having to backtrack disappeared in an instant.
Of course by now I was miles off trail and had to lay in an overland course that would bring me back to the PCT. More kicking steps through sun cupped snow until near Bighorn Plateau I glimpsed a hiker ahead in the distance. This good news was twofold because I had found the trail and could walk in someone else’s steps for awhile.
When I arrived at Tyndall Creek four other hikers were already there contemplating another difficult crossing. We swapped stories of Wallace and Wright Creek and discovered we had opposite experiences. They had camped before crossing Wallace because they couldn’t find a way but at Wright, they found a partial log crossing downstream. Go figure.
After hiking upstream at Tyndall, the thigh deep ford proved to be the easiest of the three. Once across, I hiked up to the top of a rocky ridge and pitched my tent on some of the last available dirt.
Surrounded on all sides by snow capped peaks, my campsite was magnificent and only 3 miles to the top of Forester Pass. I will wake up at oh-dark-thirty tomorrow and take advantage of hardened snow just like climbing Mt Rainer.