Favorite Moments in the Northern Sierra

I rolled down into Tahoe feeling incredible gratitude for this wild, beautiful PCT journey. It feels overwhelming to try to describe all the precious and wonderful moments of the last couple weeks, so instead I’ll just name a few of my favorite moments during this section of the trail:

  • As I came over Silver Pass, I was caught in a sudden snowstorm. I walked for hours through magic snow flurries, as if in a snow globe. I was so thankful for my warm mittens and puffy; other hikers didn’t have the same amount of warm gear and were suffering.
  • When I hiked out of Tuolumne Meadows, I was caught in a huge thunderstorm. I walked for hours listening to the grumble and roll of thunder above, and the trail was transformed by the wild storm.
  • Right after Wilma Lake, I was fording a clear stream and noticed some other hikers swimming. I rarely stop to swim but it seemed too perfect, so I dropped my pack and jumped in. The water was cool and clear, with fish darting about— the best swimming I’ve done on trail so far.
  • I caught the shuttle to Kennedy Meadows North and had a truly wonderful resupply. Gary (who picks us up) was a tour guide and welcome committee, and he set me up with two trail angels who had a campsite where I could stay for free. I had an amazing salmon dinner while doing laundry, and a huge breakfast before hiking out the next day. I was only there for about 18 hours, but it was blissful to be in such a clean, well-organized space with welcoming, kind people. Plus, the food was amazing.
  • Climbing Sonora Pass— the climb was the perfect combination of challenging and beautiful, and the views were some of the best of the whole trail. I did run out of water and have to melt snow (which turns out to be a slow and somewhat dirty process) but even that didn’t take away from the magic of the traverse.
  • I reached the 1,000 mile marker!
  • Trail magic – including a Sprite and potato chips from the amazing rangers at Carson Pass. They even let me charge up my devices.
  • I made more friends and reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen since the first week of the trail.
  • Day hikers applauded me not once but three separate times.
  • I woke to an incredible sunrise over Lake Tahoe, the entire horizon blazing gold, and then I stayed at camp for morning Pilates and meditation by a lovely stream.
  • My partner Granite met me with donuts (!) and kisses (!!) as soon as I reached the Echo Lake parking lot.

For more photos, check out @big_rain_little_thunder on Instagram.

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Comments 1

  • Richard Leighton : Jul 6th

    My wife and I live in Maine, but have hiked in the Sierra’s three different times and loved each one. It is truly a magical place.


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