Snug in my tent, at the first tarn above Guitar Lake.
I had a rough day, with back pain in the old same place from the big car accident 20 years ago–middle left side, upper right side. I couldn’t get comfortable with my pack, which, though I KNOW must be lighter, felt heavier. My back burned with pain all day long. I was constantly fiddling with the straps, lengthening them, shortening them, trying to find some way to relieve the burn. I am so relieved to be at camp.
The earth in the Kern River drainage is very dry. I don’t know how these big trees survive. It must be the snow that keeps them going. The ground is sandy and with very little of anything that could be called “topsoil” anywhere. The trees, wind-blasted foxtail and lodgepole pines mostly, are breathtakingly beautiful. We walked through a large area of dead trees, dead so many years ago that it was difficult to understand what might have killed them. Probably fire, but the soot had long since been washed away by rain and snow and bleached out by the sun.
We met up with Kenny again today. She spent the night on top of Forester Pass, just laid down at the side of the trail. It’s steep up there! Good thing she’s not a sleepwalker. She’ll summit Whitney tomorrow, same as us. She hadn’t seen her hiking partner since Dollar Lake. Said she’d take the bus down to Lone Pine, and then find a bus to Las Vegas to catch a flight home. Very self-sufficient, that one.
I am so looking forward to seeing Tom. Betty did a great job of organizing the food and schedule, given my time constraints. I would much rather have gone more slowly, but oh, well. Next backpacking trip will be a wander with no goals. I hate to leave the high country, but now that the end of the trip is near, I am smelling the barn. I just want to NOT set up/tear down/pack/unpack for awhile. And I want to shower. Soon and often. And do laundry. And play music!
Got to Treeline Lake and took a short swim in the cold water. It felt excellent! Betty waded in to her knees almost…
Lovely gilding sunset over Guitar Lake– which doesn’t really resemble a guitar except that it has a narrowish neck extending off of it with a bulbous, misshapen headstock. It ain’t a Martin, that’s for sure!
From here on out, we have to poop in a bag and carry our waste out with us.
My tent is perched on a teeny rock ledge with a rock parapet that someone built. Windy, but cozy inside. I don’t know what time it is (my phone battery died, and we didn’t have enough solar power to charge it). The wind has died and all is quiet. A perfect half-moon is shining through my open tent flap. My sleeping pad is so comfortable, even lying on solid granite. I’m thinking of the incredible bounty of currants along the trail. Betty and I feasted regularly on the wild sweetness of them. Sometimes they aren’t so good, and other times perfect deep red round pearls of nectar in a sere landscape. Must try to sleep. Whitney in the morning.
Just amazing; I want to go. xo Wendy
I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and reliving my JMT trip way back in ’71. I almost went in withdrawal during your extended break! Now it’s time for you to start planning next years trips, might I suggest Mt Banner via Thousand Island Lake?