PCT 2016 resupply stops and dates

Just moving this into a post (RIP, “Send Us Mail” page)

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We will not be hiking 2,650 miles without passing through towns occasionally. When we pick up our resupply boxes, we would love to receive letters, postcards, and/or care packages from friends and family. Below is a list of our planned resupply locations and estimated date of arrival.

When sending mail, please address it in the following format:

Hiker Name
PCT Hiker, ETA MM/DD/YY

Then insert the appropriate address from the list below. Most locations will hold mail for 4 weeks. It is best to send mail so that it arrives approximately 2 weeks ahead of our anticipated arrival. I will try my best to update this list if plans change.

As much as we love surprises, please let us know if you send mail so that we know to look for it! We don’t want to miss a care package or letter from home.

Resupply Location ETA Address Notes
Mt. Laguna 4/21/2016 c/o Laguna Mountain Lodge
PO Box 146
Mount Laguna, CA 91948
$5 fee to pick up packages
Warner Springs 4/26/2016 c/o General Delivery
Warner Springs, CA 92086
Idyllwild 5/1/2016 c/o General Delivery
Idyllwild, CA 92549
Wrightwood 5/14/2016 c/o Mountain Hardware
PO Box 398
Wrightwood, CA 92397
Hiker Heaven 5/20/2016 c/o The Saufley’s
11861 Darling Road
Agua Dulce, CA 91390
Walker Pass (Lake Isabella) 6/2/2016 c/o Lake Isabella Motel
PO Box 2134
Lake Isabella, CA 93240
Kennedy Meadows 6/6/2016 c/o Kennedy Meadows General Store
96740 Beach Meadow Road
Inyokern, CA 93527
$5 fee to pick up packages
Independence 6/13/2016 c/o Owens Valley Growers Cooperative
PO Box 312
149 South Edwards St
Independence, CA 93526
Vermillion Valley Resort 6/19/2016 c/o VVR
General Delivery
Lakeshore, CA 93634
$20 fee, 25 pound limit for packages
Name and ETA on all sides of box
Tuolumne Meadows 6/23/2016 c/o General Delivery
Tuolumne Meadows
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
North Kennedy Meadows Resort 6/30/2016 c/o Kennedy Meadows Resort and Pack Station
57 miles East of Sonora on Hwy 108
Sonora, CA 95370
$10+ fee to pick up packages
Sierra City 7/11/2016 c/o Sierra Country Store
213 Main Street
Sierra City, CA 96125
Belden Town 7/17/2016 c/o Caribou Crossroads
PO Box 1
Belden, CA 95915
Burney Falls State Park 7/26/2016 c/o Burney Park Camp Store
McArthur Burney Falls State Park
24900 State Highway 89
Burney, CA 96013
$5 fee for packages, $2.50 for letters
Castella 7/30/2016 c/o Ammirati’s Market
PO Box 90
Castella, CA 96017
Etna 8/2/2016 c/o General Delivery
Etna, CA 96027
Seiad Valley 8/5/2016 c/o Seiad Valley Store
44719 State Highway 96
Seiad Valley, CA 96086
Crater Lake (Mazama) 8/14/2016 c/o Mazama Village Camper Store
Mazama Village
Crater Lake, OR 97604
Shelter Cove Resort 8/18/2016 c/o Shelter Cove Resort & Marina
27600 West Odell Lake Road
Highway 58
Crescent, OR 97733
Big Lake Youth Camp 8/22/2016 c/o Big Lake Youth Camp
13100 Highway 20
Sisters, OR 97759
Timberline Lodge 8/27/2016 c/o Timberline Lodge Ski Area
27500 E Timberline Rd
WY’East Store
Timberline Lodge, OR 97028
$5 fee for packages
White Pass 9/6/2016 c/o Kracker Barrel Store
48851 US Highway 12
Naches, WA 98937
Snoqualmie Pass 9/11/2016 c/o Chevron Station
Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068
Leavenworth 9/16/2016 c/o General Delivery
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Stehekin 9/21/2016 c/o General Delivery
Stehekin, WA 98852

 

Why Outside Magazine’s paid newsletter misses the mark

On Monday, Outside magazine announced that it plans to launch the first of many paid newsletters in an attempt to diversify its revenue. Historically, paid advertising and classified ads have provided the bulk of funding for journalism. Print publications were not adequately prepared to pivot when advertising revenue fell (most companies allocate their marketing budgets to search engines and social media, rather than advertising). Publications are facing the consequences of their slow arrival to the digital age. Digitally-motivated paying subscribers are the key to funding their future, but it is difficult to make readers understand why they should dish out for content that has always been free.

Outside isn’t wrong to try to change their funding model. In fact, they need to change their model in order to survive.

So what’s the problem?

  1. The subject matter of this initiative is not Outside‘s strength. The magazine doesn’t have a great track record of reviewing women’s gear, or of representing women equally in their coverage. They admit this on the subscription page:

    Coverage of gear for women isn’t very good. Sure, there are some exceptions to this rule, but all too often, men are writing about women’s products—or the stuff is being ignored completely. Outside is guilty of this, too, though we’re making a concerted effort to become more inclusive and to balance our coverage so it more fairly represents all our readers. That’s why we’re launching Dawn Patrol: to bring fair, honest women’s gear coverage to your inbox every week.

    It’s a bit of a stretch to admit that women’s gear reviews are not your strength, and in the same sentence, turn around and ask readers to pay a monthly fee to read them. Before you can ask your readers to pay for something, you need to show that you are capable of providing it.

  2. Coverage of men’s gear is ubiquitous and free. Men’s gear is also ubiquitous, and where gear isn’t gendered, it’s basically designed for men. Outdoor content and the outdoor community has a serious inclusion problem when it comes to gender (and also to race, economic status and dis/ability status). Women’s gear is pink and usually more expensive, just like everything else marketed to women. Many women get by with the neutral/men’s version of every product they need.
  3. This newsletter is being promoted as an ad-free resource. Does that mean that reviews will not be linked to the products, or will Outside benefit from purchases made as a result of this newsletter?
  4. Gear reviews are essentially ads. So are subscribers paying for content, or are they being duped into paying $5/month to be the target of more marketing?
  5. Men are not likely to pay to access this content, but it is important for them to read about problems with women’s gear because they are often (80-90% of the time) the leaders of gear companies.
  6. Outside has not tried this funding model with subject matter that appeals to their entire audience, but have decided instead to make women pay to access a portion of content that would theoretically be relevant to them. Even if they expand to other content areas as planned, they are testing the model on a limited segment of their audience – and that segment is already the most reluctant because (see #1).

What would work better?

  1. Outside absolutely must improve its content to focus more on women in the outdoors. That’s something they are aware of, and I’ve been pleased with the few strides they’ve taken so far. But they still have work to do to become a trustworthy resource that provides value for women.
  2. The pricing model needs to be adjusted. The Ann Friedman Weekly is an email newsletter that is free, but to get exclusive content and to show support, she asks for $5/year. A digital subscription to a newspaper (e.g. NYT, WaPo, Seattle Times), with hundreds of updates daily, runs about $16/month. $5/month for a weekly email is a LOT.
  3. Outside should start with a newsletter that has universal appeal. By moving women’s gear reviews behind an email paywall (before testing their broader audience with this funding model), they are isolating their potential audience before they’ve fully developed it. They are also likely isolating men from the discussion.

When I layer my jewel-toned raincoat over my jewel-toned puffy over my jewel-toned fleece over my jewel-toned baselayer, of course I know women’s gear has room for improvement. I just think it’s the wrong launch topic for Outside‘s new funding model. Content about women in the outdoors and women’s gear shouldn’t live in a special place on the internet, accessible only to women who can afford the $5/month subscription to read about it. It should be balanced and blended with the discussion of men’s gear, and readily available through the same channels.

My PCT Gear List: What I started with, what I sent home, and what got me all the way to Canada

The most important thing to understand about gear for your PCT thru-hike is that it is ultimately just gear. Everyone who is planning their hike for 2017 is poring over ounces and pounds, wondering whether the Sawyer Mini is worth saving a few ounces (it’s not) or if they should make a wind screen for their camp stove (should they even bring a stove?). That was me, one year ago.

At the beginning of my thru-hike in 2016, every hiker that I met was obsessed with talking about gear. Was that the ULA Circuit? Did I like it so far? What sleeping bag do you have? How much does your Tyvek groundsheet weigh compared to mine? You’re carrying camp shoes? Not worth it!

By about mile 500, the discussion of what gear would work or not had subsided almost entirely. Everyone recognized that every hiker had made it as far as they had, with whatever they had in their pack. Everyone had realized that no matter what, they were going to leave town carrying as much food as they could fit in their food bag, and every ounce of extra food sort of negated that ounce they saved by carrying a Sawyer Mini instead of a regular Sawyer.

Anyone considering the PCT should take this list as a suggestion and not the rule. People thru-hike all the time with all sorts of gear and make it to Canada. Bring the 10 essentials, and whatever you think you’ll need to be comfortable on your hike. You’re carrying everything you need to live for five months. Hiking your own hike starts here.

With that in mind, here is everything that I started out with in my pack, plus the clothes I was wearing and the trekking poles that I carried. I’m not listing everything here because I don’t think everyone is as interested in full gear lists as aspiring hikers, and if you are an aspiring hiker then you’ll find everything you could possibly hope for at the link. However, I would like to offer some suggestions/analysis based on my experience that will hopefully be useful for everyone considering a backpacking trip in general.

Edited to add: I thru-hiked the PCT with my boyfriend, so I did not carry everything myself. Andy’s gear list is available here.

The “big three” are the three heaviest (and typically most expensive) items that backpackers carry: your backpack, tent, and sleep system. Mine included the ULA Circuit, the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2, ZPacks sleeping bag (regular width, long, 10 degree, full zipper with baffle), and the Exped SynMat UL 7 (I adore this sleeping pad. Most people have Thermarest NeoAir X-Lites, but I am a restless sleeper and the SynMat is totally luxurious at the end of a long hiking day. Plus, it’s less crinkly and more durable than the NeoAir).

My general advice, to be taken with many grains of salt:

The most common gear items on the PCT last summer included the ULA Circuit, Fly Creek HV UL2, ZPacks bag, Darn Tough socks, Dirty Girl Gaiters, and Altra Lone Peak 2.5s. If you’re leaning toward any of these, I’d recommend going for it. If you’re thinking you want to save weight and carry a Sawyer Mini, I’d rethink that. No one on trail with a mini was happy about it, mostly due to slow flow rate; most switched to a regular Sawyer Squeeze as soon as they could.

I was really happy with our cooking equipment, although I didn’t meet anyone who had the same set-up. We each had the Anti Gravity Gear Caddy Sack, which is a lightweight insulated plastic container. We used these to rehydrate our dinners, and we were able to use the lid as a cup and a bowl for breakfasts. They also make a great sturdy container for, say, packing out a fresh avocado from town and knowing it won’t be squished in your bag.

What I sent home:

I started with La Sportiva Ultra-Raptors which I loved for the support, but which I quickly learned had a toe box that was far too small for me. I switched to men’s Altra Lone Peak 2.5s in Mt. Laguna, and proceeded to go through 5 pairs. I hardly ever wore my zip-off pants, since I was happier with the range of motion that I got with my running shorts – so those went home. Eventually, I sent off my t-shirt because I only ever wore it in town, anyway (I am very fair and it was much easier to hike in long sleeves than to worry about sunburn). My hiking partner and I hiked at different speeds, so we picked up some goTennas in Tuolumne Meadows. They were awesome in Oregon where things are a bit flatter, but in Washington we didn’t usually have much luck connecting. I’m sure they would also be awesome in Southern California, though. I was very happy to send home my dopey (but effective and recommended) sun hat in Ashland, OR – I picked up a snazzy trucker hat to wear instead. In Cascade Locks, I traded my light raincoat for real GoreTex and switched to heavier baselayers. In Washington, I got rid of my town/camp shoes. I was very glad I had them, until the weather got cooler in Washington and I found sandals to be too chilly in town. Right before Snoqualmie, my beloved ExPed SynMat sprung a leak on the seam, and REI in Seattle didn’t have any in stock, so I begrudgingly switched to the NeoAir for the rest of Washington. While I was at REI, I also picked up a Patagonia Women’s R1 Pullover and some cushy sleep socks. It definitely gets colder in Washington!

Little luxuries that got me all the way there:

ZPacks Cuben Fiber Roll-Top stuff sack (for my sleeping bag). One rainy morning in Washington, we stopped at a cabin with a wood stove to dry our things. There were several hikers there, and one girl had the same sleeping bag as I did. It was covered in so many pieces of patch material and duct tape that I had to ask – how many thru-hikes has that sleeping bag been on? Just this one, she said. Apparently, she kept her sleeping bag at the bottom of her pack with no stuff sack. I used a stuff sack: not a single hole. Don’t sacrifice your gear’s integrity in the name of weight savings, no matter what the well-meaning folks at the Mt. Laguna gear shop tell you.

ThermaRest Z-Seat. If you bring one luxury item, let it be this comfy little sit pad that will protect your behind while you rest your feet. No ants crawling up your shorts, no cacti surprising you in the desert, no soggy bottom in the WA rain. It weighs next to nothing and is easily stored in the bungee straps on the ULA Circuit for quick access. Everyone who got themselves one of these was a happy camper as a result. At $15, it is more than worth it!

A phone full of podcasts, playlists and audiobooks. I was never one of those hikers who listened to music on the trail, because obviously it destroyed the sanctity of the experience. But once you’re on the trail for a while, you will find that you have time to think and time to enjoy the silence and still have plenty of time (say, 20 more miles of time every single day) to listen to whatever you choose. It was great to have a podcast or audiobook in common with my trail family, because then we could all discuss the latest This American Life at lunch instead of food (which is the normal conversation topic and what will constantly be on your mind if you don’t have something to distract it occasionally).

I hope that this was helpful, but please remember that this is all based on what worked for me on my hike. There’s more than one way to get to Canada. Focus on finding the right balance between weight and comfort, between preparing your resupplies ahead and buying as you go, and between this post and every other resource you come across. If you have any gear or planning questions, please leave a comment or send an email – I promise I’ll help if I can!

Book: The Miracle Morning

As part of Seattle Start-Up Week in November, I found myself at the Code Fellows campus awaiting an early morning session on personal branding. Some fellow attendees started chatting, and soon I had a list of books to check out, including The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8AM.

Ordinarily, the self-help or business genre isn’t my preference. Especially so if the prescribed advice is about waking up early. However, I decided to put myself on the library waitlist and now, I have my hands on a copy. It is excellent.

In order to live a fulfilling life, you have to identify your purpose. Since I am indecisive and sometimes noncommittal, this task is a challenge for me. We actually addressed the idea of our life’s purpose at the Start-Up Week session, and I made something up on the fly, but it wasn’t *really* my purpose. Fortunately, the author suggests a life purpose that we should all live by: To become the best version of ourselves.

I can get behind that mission.

The book begins by outlining all the reasons why most people are not living their lives to their fullest potential, and even though I feel that I generally live an adventurous and fulfilling life, several of the reasons he pointed out definitely resonated with me. Some quotes that stood out:

“Always remember that who you’re becoming is far more important than what you’re doing, and yet it is what you’re doing that is determining who you’re becoming.”

“It is often said that ‘misery loves company’, but so does mediocrity… Always seek people who will add value to your life and bring out the best in you. And of course, be that person for others.”

“Our levels of success will rarely exceed our level of personal development, because success is something we attract by who we become.” (Personal development = your knowledge, skills, beliefs, habits, etc.)

Now matters more than any other time in your life, because it’s what you’re doing today that is determining who you are becoming, and who you’re becoming will always determine the quality and direction of your life.”

Basically, the concept is that if you make time for personal development every day, you will build yourself into the person who is capable of achieving everything you imagine in life. The book closed by suggesting that the reader plan for their first Miracle Morning, tomorrow. Which means I have some work to do to prepare. I’ll report back on how it goes!

2016: My Year In Review

In 2016, I was largely out of touch from the “real world,” which I think was a tremendous blessing. It was so incredible and rewarding to spend the majority of the year completing my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m in a very different place now than I was at the beginning of the year.

January:

We had Dan and Derrick over for board games for New Years, which was lovely and low-key. I took a month-long break from Facebook. My friend Erica was in Boston so we were able to catch up, and we brewed some beer with Liz and Nigel (my first time brewing).

February:

Andy and I went to Clink in the Liberty Hotel for Valentine’s Day. We hiked Mt. Moriah (or tried to; it was icy and we ended up turning around). We mostly spent all our spare time dehydrating food and buying any gear we didn’t have yet.

March:

We went to western NY, and I got to catch up with my family before we drove onto Toronto to surprise my friend Katie for her 30th birthday. We spent a few days there and it was fantastic. We took an ice climbing class in North Conway, NH, which we ended up loving. Winter ended early so there wasn’t any snow to practice self-arresting with our ice axes, but ice climbing was still pretty incredible. I went bridesmaid dress shopping for Bee’s wedding, which isn’t until 2018 (but it’s coming up fast!). We starting selling furniture, packing, and having our last dinner/drinks/coffees with everyone we knew.

April:

We threw our PCT Send-off Party, took all our belongings to our storage unit, dropped off the cat with friends in New Hampshire, and boarded a plane to San Diego to start hiking the PCT.

May-September

PCT. 🙂

October:

After not really knowing where we wanted to wind up after our hike (maybe Bend? Maybe Portland?), we settled on Seattle because our friends live here. We found a great apartment, then flew back east to visit our long-lost friends, pack up and ship everything that was in our storage unit, and get our cat. I took the cat on an airplane, and Andy drove his Jeep across the country on his own.

November:

I attended a bunch of networking events and panels during Seattle Start-Up Week. I learned a lot about the start-up/tech scene in Seattle, and I decided to dabble in some coding classes. We found a tiny house on AirBnb out on the Olympic Peninsula, and decided that we want to build a tiny house. I started volunteering as a Community Lead at a coworking space in Pioneer Square. We went to Thanksgiving with friends in Ballard.

December:

I created a Facebook group for Seattle-area thru-hikers, and we all met up for drinks at a bar near REI. Andy, Chris and I went to Leavenworth and on our first snowshoe trip of the season. We went to an avalanche info session, and now I’m terrified of avalanches. We explored Vashon Island with our friend Libby. We snowshoed Amabilis Mountain and Suntop. Christmas was totally low-key, and involved board games and tacos for dinner. I baked a lot of delicious things.

Last year at this time, I was so certain of what the year ahead would look like because I knew I’d be spending most of it in the woods. I had even purchased and packaged most of my meals for the year. 2017 is looking much different. It feels like anything is possible – I just have to set my sights on some new goals and make them happen. I’m keeping it simple, but this is what I have so far:

  • 52 days of hiking
  • 25 books read
  • Train for a marathon
  • Bake a sourdough bread
  • Try to get blog posts up for the rest of my PCT hike!

We’ll see what else the year brings. 🙂

Chester to Mt. Shasta, CA

Yes, I skipped a giant section – I will come back to it later! 🙂

Whoa-oa, we’re halfway there

We reached the halfway point of the PCT on July 20 – just about three months into our hike. We are doing really well and we’re happy with our pace. It was incredible to reach the halfway point. If we can hike 1325 miles once, theoretically we should be able to hike the next 1325 miles. So in a way, that was the first moment it felt tangible that we could reach the end of the trail. We always believed we could, but that belief wasn’t based in experience – until now. It’s still not guaranteed, of course. As of today, we still have about 1,150 miles left to go. I just feel more confident about it.

In Chester, we took our first zero since Yosemite. It was nice to run our errands and then have some time to relax in town. Since getting back on the trail, the terrain has been much easier (a lot less elevation gain/loss and hiking at lower altitudes), but it has also been unbelievably hot. Seriously, it’s been hotter than when we were in the Mojave. That has probably been the biggest challenge we’ve faced recently.

Unexpected trail cows are out there, too

In addition to the heat, we’ve also had some encounters with wildlife that deserve a mention. We saw a bear in the evening on our way through a campground. He was very cute – just scratching the bark off a fallen tree across the road from us. I also stumbled across a rattlesnake a couple of days ago. It was on the trail, and there was a steep slope on both sides of the trail so there was no way around. The snake rattled and hid next to a log near the trail. I tried to find a way by, but the trail was really the only way. Eventually I hit my trekking poles together to make a lot of noise, took note of where the snake had gone, and ran past as quickly as possible. Phew.

We’ve been looking at Mt. Shasta for days!

We’ve been making great progress. Usually we hike at least 25 miles every day, but we had our first 30+ mile day at Hat Creek Rim last week. We have to time our hiking to avoid the heat of the day, which basically starts at 7am and lasts until 6pm… But we take our break from about 1-3pm every day. Because of this, we are hiking later… But it’s just impossible and borderline dangerous to hike when it’s that hot outside. We are so excited to be in Oregon soon and for this heat wave to break!

Lake Isabella to Independence, CA

We are currently in South Lake Tahoe, so I have some catching up to do here – apologies for the delayed posting.

When we arrived to Walker Pass to start hiking again after the Chimney Fire closure was lifted, there were already many hikers waiting at the trail. Everyone was gathered around some trail magic when a forest ranger approached and asked if he could snap a photo of the group. He ended up taking one on nearly everyone’s camera.

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June 5: Everyone ready to get back on the trail at Walker Pass

We woke up at 2:00am to start hiking so we could beat the heat – Lake Isabella had been seeing temperatures in the 100s for the past few afternoons and we definitely didn’t want to be caught hiking when the temperature spiked. Night hiking in the desert is pretty incredible, because the stars are amazing out here. It was only truly dark for an hour or two before the sun began to rise.

Getting up so early meant that we could essentially siesta from lunchtime to the early evening, which is exactly what we did. The first day, we didn’t really nap – but by day two of night hiking we were pretty exhausted and managed to sleep for three hours in the shade of two lonely trees along a dirt road near the trail.

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A gorgeous sunrise just past Walker Pass

This stretch of the PCT was pretty incredible because almost out of nowhere, the Kern River came streaming through the desert. I was tempted to jump right into it after hiking in the dry heat for months, but Andy wanted to get to Kennedy Meadows and honestly, so did I! We pushed on, and when we finally rolled up to the general store all the hikers started clapping and cheering. We made it through the desert section – now, onto the Sierras!

We left Kennedy Meadows and right away the landscape changed. There were meadows and pine forests and our first stream crossings. As we climbed, the heat wave broke and we actually found ourselves walking in a snow shower after Chicken Spring Lake. It was amazing that we were just guzzling Gatorade in the desert a day before.

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Drinking a Snapple at Kennedy Meadows, a la Cheryl Strayed

We arrived at Crabtree Meadow in the early afternoon, and there was a crowd there. According to some other hikers, the ranger there had let them know about a winter weather advisory: six inches of snow was expected at elevations above 10,000 feet that evening. Which was precisely where we were. And we had been planning on taking the side trip to summit Whitney the next day.

As predicted, storms did roll through that night. There was thunder, lightning, hail and snow, and when we woke the next morning the meadow was completely blanketed. We moved our tents into the sun to dry and spent the day taking an on-trail zero, which mostly involved sitting on our bear cans in a circle and eating. We all had to hunker down in our tents again in the afternoon when another storm came through, but it cleared up by dinner.

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The Pope, B Squared and Fat Cathy descending Mt. Whitney

The next morning, we woke up at 4:00am with plans to head toward Whitney with Swiss Family Robinson, Golden Boy, Fat Cathy, B Squared, Garfield, A-Game, and Undercover. It was so cold, the first task of the morning was crossing a stream on a log bridge that had developed an icy coating in the night. We each took turns crawling across, and Garfield and Golden Boy helped everyone with the last few steps. After that, it was pretty easy going through the snow to Whitney. There were already some tracks in the snow that we were able to follow. The only issue for me was the cold – my hands and feet were just absolutely frozen. I was wearing gloves, but I had to stop and put a pair of wool socks over them in order to get the feeling back into my fingers. I thought about turning around, since we were only just above Guitar Lake at that point, but I’m glad that I kept going.

We reached the summit of Whitney around 11:00am, when we learned that a day hiker was going to be helicoptered out. He’d spent the night nearly hypothermic and definitely dehydrated, and was not looking well. We heard later that a thru-hiker who had made the poor decision to sleep on the summit had managed to keep him warm through the night by setting up her tent inside the shelter, although it was so cold there that all her water froze and she wasn’t able to give him any liquids. They called for help that morning. So, we got to witness the helicopter rescue while we were at the top.

The snow was quickly turning to slush on our descent, and we passed many hikers who were just beginning the climb. It seemed really risky to me because there were definitely a couple of sketchy snow traverses when we climbed up that had gotten even more precarious on the way down, but they were pretty determined.

Andy and I were fortunate to hike the John Muir Trail SOBO in 2014 (photos here), so we had some prior understanding of the trail from here on out. The only issue was that we had hiked it later in the season during a very dry year, so the Sierras this time were a different beast. Every pass was covered in miles of snow. We hit Forester first, and we were definitely nervous about what the trail conditions would be, but it was actually not too bad. The north side of the pass had much more snow than the south side, and the only sketchy section for us was a long, downhill snowfield just past the summit.

At this point, due to the extra time we spent waiting out the fire and our unplanned on-trail zero day, we were a bit behind schedule. However, we were also pretty exhausted. We hiked out over Kearsarge, picked up our resupply boxes, and caught the bus down to Lone Pine for an excellent zero day with Fat Cathy and B Squared.