Morning rises on my quiet camp . I make a slow start . I have porridge for breakfast , but with a secret hiker ingredient ..SMARTIES !!!! (Except over here they odly , and for the life of me I cant understand why , call them MnM.. I thought he was a pop star ‘!!?!)
I hold fire on putting on my frozen socks , I have to ford a river this morning .
‘Cold ! Cold ! Cold ! Cold ! Cold !’ I chant as i wade through the fridged water . Up to my knees , ‘Brrrrrrrr..’ I rest up on the other side and warm my feet up . My plan is to take things easy and walk a 15mile today . Just enough to get me within reach of Forester pass and then the following walk into Independance . Forester Pass has a fearesome and feared reputation within the PCT . Its the highest point of the Pathway at 13000 plus feet . Im running this through my mind when i see movement in the forest on the other side of the lake . Then the familar and friendly click clock of walking sticks . I focus and see the deep red beard and im shouting “Yeeeehaaa .. Wing it !!” I smile and give him the ‘finger’ . We laugh . ( in the UK this translates as putting up two fingers in jest only ) . I shout to him that he will have to get his feet wet , and smile to myself . Im not alone now . I smile again .
We rap ( to talk in a relaxed fashion ) for a bit , and as we warm our feet in the sun and warm to each others shared story , we laugh out loud at the adventures and misadventures of the last four days since Kennedy Meadows . Wing it has done the whole walk alone , and is in a very very cool place . We share the peace then get off our ‘butts’ and get trail bound .
Walking with a true friend is such a golden gift .
We are getting into glourious landscape . Open white feilds full of young pine trees , crystals of light reflecting , dazzling , offering snowblind gifts .
We hike for hours , sometimes at a distance , sometimes together . Honouring each others space , pace and peace . We eat lunch together after crossing another creek , this one a relativly easy hop skip and jump to dry land . There are marmits and chipmunks mucking about around the campsite . Three tents are up . Eric , El Gringo and Smokin Moose are all attempting Mount Whitney today and they have left there gear at the bottom . A full days up and down to summit central americas highest peak . Wing it and I are eating lunch , as I snap pixtures of the chipmunks ,when suddenly Moose appears from the woods . He looks both absoloutly knackerd and also a bit crest fallen . He had to turn around half way up Mount Whitney as his spikes wernt upto the assent .He made a goid choice in safety , and knows it , but is also T’d off that he couldnt summit today . Wing it and I talk with him for a while and swap storys whilst the Moose eats lunch . Later i hit the trail again and leave Wing it to his Siesta .
Im enjoying today immensly . I am confident with the GPS app on my phone now so im happy to be the only set of prints in the snow . I see cayote /wolf prints ahead of me and i get a thrill knowing this forest is still home to the wild .
Wing it catches up and we are walking into a huge valley surrounded by massive snowy peaks . The trees are casting long deep shadows around us and we are knocking out the miles .
We do stop a lot for breathtaking panoramas .
I tell Wing it that this is the best walking ive ever had . Such a perfect day . Im happy just covering these fifteen miles and camping close to the Foresters Pass . Even if my gas is about to run out and my hiking boots freeze solid in the night , im happy with the way my day unfolded .
Tommorow is another day .