See? Beautiful weather. What thunderstorms? So I packed up my little tent and hit the trail.
It turns out that a beautiful blue sky in the morning in the Sierras does not guarantee good weather the rest of the day. And in this case, I really should have known better, because I knew the weather forecast was for 90% chance of thunderstorms til 11pm that night. But there was also a forecast for thunderstorms the day before and the weather had been rain-free, albeit cloudy. And there is this beautiful thing called denial...
Now comes the part of the hike where you've left the waterfalls and streamside wildflowers behind and you are left with talus, a few brave high altitude plants and animals, and the question, "Which tall awful thing will I have to hike up?"
Same flower, close up
And, at last, I reached the top, and got the reward for my efforts:
I got the sense that this little guy has a steady supply of dropped food from hikers going up Kearsarge Pass... we get our resupplies, and he gets his.
Actually, here's my real reward for that climb, even more than the view:
Sky Pilot is a flower endemic to the Sierras and it only grows at the highest altitudes. When you see this flower, you know you've climbed pretty dang high. In other words, you don't get to see Sky Pilot without earning it.
I continued down to the JMT at Charlotte Lake. It's 3 miles from Kearsarge Pass to the JMT, and another half mile to a mile to Charlotte Lake. Charlotte Lake is pretty but you go down 400 feet in elevation from the trail to get there (and then back up it the next day). I was not sure if I wanted to camp there, making today a short day in miles, or continue north to Rae Lakes. Going to Rae Lakes meant going over Glen Pass. That wouldn't be fun, and it would make my day long and hard. But if I stayed at Charlotte Lake, my day would be rather short.
Instead of deciding, I took pictures of Bullfrog Lake, which was very pretty from the higher of the two trails going down from Kearsarge toward the JMT.
By the way, notice the clouds building up in those pics of Bullfrog Lake? By the time I reached Charlotte Lake, it looked like this:
And there was thunder. No way I could attempt Glen Pass. I hunkered down at Charlotte Lake and endured one of the longest rainstorms of my trip. And, with nothing else to do, I think I fell asleep around 4pm.
Day 12 miles hiked: 5.8
Day 12 elevation gain: 1350 ft
Total Distance Hiked to date: 83.5 mi
Total JMT distance hiked to date: 48.1 mi
All of my JMT photos can be seen here.
Previous JMT posts:
- Planning my Itinerary
- Getting My Permit
- Training for Mountains in a Flat State
- JMT Training Hike and Gear Test 1: San Bernardino Peak
- JMT Training Hike 2: El Capitan Open Space Preserve
- JMT Training Hike 3: Noble Canyon, Bottom Up
- Food and Resupplies
- The Camera
- JMT Training Hike 4: Mt. Baldy
- New Training Plan
- Last Minute Prep, Freaking Out, and Loose Ends
- Day 1: Happy Isles to Little Yosemite Valley
- Day 2: Half Dome
- Day 3: Little Yosemite Valley to Past Sunrise Creek
- Day 4: Before Sunrise High Sierra to Tuolumne Meadows
- Day 5: Lyell Canyon Out and Back
- Day 6: A Quick Jaunt on the PCT
- Day 7: Red's to Deer Creek
- Day 8: Deer Creek to Lake Virginia
- Day 9: Lake Virginia to Squaw Lake
- Day 10: Squaw Lake to VVR
- Reducing Pack Weight and Changing Food
- Day 11: Onion Valley to Flower Lake