Thursday October 1, 23.2mi/37.3km
Campsite next to Palisade Creek (823.1/9029ft) to Woods Creek Swingbridge (799.9/8547ft) (CA)
The first day of October! I left camp with Cheshire Cat shortly after 7am, and Bonus Miles was long gone. We had planned a big day today, covering over 23 miles and climbing over two 12,000ft passes! So she was smart to get an early start. We hiked by the Palisade Lakes, which are were strangely calm on this windless morning.
Near the second Palisade Lake, I suddenly caught Bonus Miles, who was helping Tiger look for his lost Garmin device. We all helped him search the trail for where he might have dropped it. Eventually, he found it inside it’s stuff sack near some rocks, whew!
Shortly after, we crested Mather Pass, 12,093ft. What a view!
We descended the south side of the pass, and about 30 minutes later, the sky turned very dark and cloudy. Uhoh.
It snowed on us! Just a litte bit, but enough for Bonus Miles to use her umbrella. I’m totally buying one of those for my next hike. The wintry weather lasted only 30 minutes, and then became warm-ish and sunny, and we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to stop and eat lunch. Or gummy bears, defining meals is tricky.
After a nice relaxed lunch, we packed up our now-dried gear, and started up towards Pinchot Pass. The weather was acting very undecided, so we moved pretty quickly.
At least it was warm again, perhaps even short sleeve weather…
Just before the top of Pinchot Pass, the clouds decided to snow again. This time, the snow was sticking to the ground a bit. This photo doesn’t come close to capturing the joy at getting to the top of the pass. Or perhaps, it was celebrating the most summit pushups we’ve done so far.
Amazingly, a section hiker came by, hiking north. We hadn’t seen anyone else going north in days! He took our group photo, and then each group ran down their respective side of the pass, as the snow was coming back.
A panoramic photo is more fun with people! It also really captures the low-hanging clouds moving our way.
It started snowing harder, and we were literally alternating between a fast walk and a run down the switchbacks.
The trail stayed high for awhile, but after an hour, we had descended far enough to be free of the clouds. And then the blue sky came back, this weather was so strange!
We hiked until 6pm, and camped at an established campsite with a bear box, near a suspension bridge over Woods Creek. We didn’t see any other hikers, so I got to bed earlier tonight, and rested up for another two-pass day tomorrow!