Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 13
I woke up feeling pretty good. My relatively low campsite at 10,300 feet must have cured
what ailed me. I packed up and headed for 13,180 foot Forester Pass, the highest point
on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The trail climbed to a beautiful plateau at 12,000 feet, then back to 10,000 to begin the
ascent to Forester Pass. It wasn't long before I started encountering snow, then lots of
snow. Three miles from the pass there was too much snow to see the trail. I took out my
map and compass, located Forester Pass, and started working my way towards it. I saw
the trail from time to time, but it was easier to make my own route.
I stopped for a snack at the base of the mountain where the trail climbs the last 1000 feet
up to the pass. Another hiker was just starting his ascent, so I watched to see how he
would negotiate the snow. He started up a few switchbacks and when he came to a place
where the trail was covered in snow, he set off across a snowfield that was way too steep
and high up to climb on. I thought he would head back towards Forester Pass at some
point, but he kept going away from it and farther up the dangerous snowfields. Two other
hikers passed by and I told them not to follow that guy, but they were too excited about
getting to use their ice axes to listen. I watched as they set off in the wrong direction.
I climbed a few hundred feet of boulders, found the trail and missed that snow entirely. I
cleared the pass and walked another five miles in the snow. I kept looking back for the
other hikers, but never saw them. I hope they didn't fall!
After all the snow, the trail entered a beautiful canyon next to a creek. There were several
waterfalls every mile. I had huge trees to shade me, and there were snowcapped
mountains where ever I looked. It was an amazing day.
I haven't had any symptoms of altitude sickness today, and I'm not having as much trouble
climbing. Even with all the snow, I still made it 25 miles today. Hopefully, my altitude
troubles are over.
I crossed two high snowy passes today. I hate the snow. It gets my feet all cold and wet
and makes it so I can't find the trail. Everything in the Sierras is twice as hard as the
desert, but it's so beautiful out here. Whenever things get really hard, I stop, look around,
and realize how lucky I am to be out here.
I forded my first real river today. It was pretty scary! The water was almost waist deep, ice
cold, and moving really fast. One slip on the mossy rocks and my gear and I would be
headed downstream fast! I made my crossing as two hikers who had been waiting to see
how it was done watched. I made it across safely, as did the other hikers.
I'm two days away from my next food drop, which is good, because I'm almost out of food.
I've been rationing for two days now, and I had to tighten the waist strap on my pack today.
I climbed over another scary snowy pass this morning, then began a long 4,000 foot
descent, only to start climbing again this afternoon.
My camp tonight is on a rocky ledge 500 feet above a stream. I'm at 11,100 feet, which is
the highest I've ever camped. There's snow everywhere. It's going to be a cold night.
I think today is Fathers Day. If not, it's close and I like to write my dad a letter on Fathers
Day. It's a trip tradition.
It's hard to believe you've been gone nearly three years, now, and mom, 14. I still miss
you both every day. I was thinking about you on my way down one of the miserable
snowfields out here and it made me cry. I'm crying now. I wish I had parents. I have God
and a lot of people who care about me, but I still have a horrible emptiness inside.
If you were alive, I'd be broke and living in a trailer, but you're gone and you've left me a
lot. I have a house now, and I never have to worry about money again. I can go on these
wonderful trips. I'm thankful for that, but I'd give it all up to have you back.
Sam Dog is having trouble with her hip again. She's getting pretty old. I know she won't
be around too much longer, and it's tough. She's my best friend. I hate losing friends, but
there's the old saying, "It's better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all." I
sure have lost a lot of loved ones.
On a brighter note, I'm in the Sierra Mountains, and it's the most beautiful place I've ever
been. You would love it out here. The snow kind of sucks, but everything else is
I have a new job now. I'm working at a welding shop. I like it there, and they treat me well.
Aside from that, everything is about the same.
It's late and getting cold. I need to get bundled up in my sleeping bag and try to get some
sleep. Remember what I said at your funeral. In the movies, heroes never die, but this
isn't the movies. My hero is gone, but you'll always be my hero. I think that's important.
To anyone who reads this on my website, If your parents are still around, call them and tell
them you love them. You'll never regret doing it.