Jackrabbit Hikes: PCT Day 49-50
Day 49: Sunset Tentsite (mi 732.6) -> Chicken Spring Lake (mi 750.8)
Another day in the Sierra’s baby!!
The morning was noticeably warmer than the previous morning despite being a few thousand feet higher in elevation. Cold mornings always make it hard to get out of your sleeping bag so it was nice to wake up ready to roll.
We got going early and had a climb to start. We basked in the sun amongst the cedars and pines as we made our way up the mountain. We stopped at a saddle for a view of Owen’s Valley and coincidentally I got my first service in the Sierra’s. I texted family, got the weather report for the next few days and for Mt. Whitney and we were on our way.
First great view of one of the Sierra’s 14,000 footers today. Mt. Langley. I had to stop for a minute to write this while the thoughts were fresh on my mind.
It’s grandeur reminds me of Katahdin. Im just in awe of the size and the beauty of it. The valley sprawls below with pines and the two high peaks compliment each other. One is sharp and narrow like a traditional mountain peak but Langley is large and burly. It shows years of wear and stands proudly on the horizon. Staunch and resolute. While the PCT doesn’t cross Langley’s summit, the mountain still watches us as we march through the forest.
After drooling over snow covered peaks all around me I had found my way to my destination, Chicken Spring Lake. My first alpine lake in the Sierra’s. It’s sits beneath a bowl of rock where snow melt annually fills the sandy rocky crater. It boasts sandy beaches and tons of great camping. Paradise.
Fair Share, Sky, and Starboy scrambled their way up the rocky bowl around us for a sunset view above the lake. They told us about the amazing show the sun put on so me and Uncle Bob vowed to make it to tomorrow’s sunrise up there.
I know there’s more alpine lakes to come but this one set the bar high.
Day 50: Chicken Spring Lake (mi 750.8) -> Crabtree Meadows (mi 766.3)
50 days on trail.
Man time flies. I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend my morning on my little trailversary. We scrambled up the rocks as the sun rose behind us, racing to beat the light to the valley. As we got to the top, we gazed out across the ridges before us. The morning sun illuminated some peaks which in turn cast shadows on the ridges behind them.
It was probably one of the best sunrise views I’ve ever had.
After I made my descent, I ran into Graham and CJ who had just made their way back up trail from Lone Pine. They reenergized me with some morning laughs and we strategized the day. Blue blazin’ today. CJ showed us Soldier Lake on his paper map and we all decided any and all lakes in the Sierra’s are worth the stop.
CJ brought some food goodies for everyone in the group from town like the legend he is. Nutella for Uncle Bob, Cheez-It’s for Fair Share and some Knorr Rice and trail mix for me. I love that dude.
We made our way towards Soldier Lake individually and hiked under the baby blue sky. It was only a 4-5mi walk from camp so we took our time making up fake origin stories of the rocks around us. The Sierra’s host not only some of the most amazing rock formations on the scale of mountains and peaks, but also on the more micro scale in smaller croppings.
Eventually everyone stopped walking and I almost bumped right into the person in front of me. We had reached a sprawling green meadow with a creek running adjacent. Behind the meadow lay a fortress of rock in a crescent facing towards us. It took my breath away as I gazed out at the massive rock ridges bearing down on the valley before me. And we hadn’t even made it to the lake yet.
The Sierra’s have been like a new country. Hell, a whole new planet. The forests are old and rugged and boast the most artistic, striped cedars. The entire region is riddled with massive piles of stone that jut into the sky, striped with snow and jagged as barbed wire.
It’s a very surreal hiking experience. What you would wait weeks for in a view or location on a hike you may get twice in a day in the Sierra’s. A place to swim, a monster peak, wildlife grazing in open meadows. I went from seeing only snakes and lizards to having seen multiple deer within 50ft grazing under a stone ridge.
I love it here and I find it hard to distill even an hour of my experience each day into this blog. The Sierra’s are magic and I have felt that magic everyday so far.
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