The climb up to the pass wasn't too hard. It took us a while, with several more hurts passing us. And when we got to the pass everyone else were already half way down the other side.
The other side, as we've heard before, was a steep score covered slope. We could see the trail marks made by other hikers on the snow, and we picked the one that seemed most traveled by.
A southbounder came onto the pass just as we were leaving it, and he gave us some tips on the way ahead. He said that if we are "moving it" we can get over Pinchot Pass as well today. We never "move it"...
|View across Rae Lakes|
The way down took quite some time. First getting across the steep snow slope, and then guessing where the switchbacks were on the way down, in between snow patches and boulder hopping. We did glissade twice. Just short distances over snowy sections.
Another thing I achieved was to snap my trekking pole. I got it all the way in on a soft snow spot, and then sank my entire left foot into the snow over it, hearing the "knack" sounds it made. The lower section broke, and I'll have to get a new one ASAP. In the mean time I extended what remained unbroken all the way down, and I use it as a somewhat shorter pole, with no tip. This will have to do.
The way down after all the snow ended was easier. We hiked by Rae Lakes and Arrowhead Lake, and the trail got easier and easier. From Arrowhead I hiked all the way down to the suspension bridge over Woods Creek, at the bottom of the valley, and waited for Idan and Yair to join me. On the way there we had to ford a steam through the water, so while waiting for them at the bridge, I let my shoes and socks dry out.
|Hanging Bridge over the South Ford Woods Creek|
We slowly hiked up towards our campsite, Idan running forward as usual. We had several creek crossings, and had to get our shoes wet once again.
When we got to our campsite Idan pushed hard for us to hike another mile up to some trail junction, in order to gain a bit more of the climb today, and have an easier hike tomorrow morning. His main argument was that if we'd stay there we wouldn't make it over Pinchot AND Mather tomorrow. But if we do that extra mile, we would.
Yair and I agreed to hike on a bit, even though we were both tired. While climbing the next hill, we met some southbound hikers who said there is no campsite around for about a mile AFTER the trail junction. Luckily, Idan talked to them a bit earlier, and have already searched around off trail and found an OK site for us just near a water source. So that's where we are camped at tonight.
|Hiking along Woods Creek|