PCT Thruhike: Section 19

In this section,  we hike Red’s Meadow to Independence in the High Sierras. This episode is a bit longer because it includes all the scenery we’ve been waiting for…beauty overload! Also stay tuned for answers to questions from kindergarteners!

Our videos feature quick and dirty views of each trail section as well as A+ and F moments and conclude with Lessons Learned. We hope you enjoy!

Click here for Section 19 Photos!


Sunday, September 29:

  • Day: 103
  • Miles Hiked Today: 18.1
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1764.6
  • Update:  It was very hard to leave the warm comfort of our cabin at Red’s Meadow this morning in the 25 degree temperatures and knowing tonight’s low would be in the teens! However,  the day wasn’t so bad. It probably got up to around 35 degrees at some point and we set up camp at a lovely protected spot around 9000 foot (low for the Sierras!). We walked through snow and mush most of the day but once we got over our last pass, the trail dried up and there was significantly less snow. I was very thankful because it gave my shoes a chance to dry. The best news of the day is that our buddy Sundown brought us tortillas away our campsite! He went in to town and we didn’t, so he offered to pick us up some.  Major that he carried the 1.5 pound pack 18 miles for us! Whoah!

Monday, September 30:

  • Day: 104
  • Miles Hiked Today: 19.3
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1783.9
  • Update:  Today was tough. It was 10 degrees outside when we woke up (though we were fine and today in our cacoon) so we found it exceedingly difficult to get up. Miraculously,  we started hiking by 8:15 to begin the first of three climbs today. We were just slow today. The high was around 30 degrees but the varied terrain and temperatures made us have to stop a lot of change our layers.  We intended to hike further, but opted to stay at a lower elevation to stay warmer tonight since we expect similar conditions. We also ran into our friends Sour Patch, Willy Wonka, and Blue who were camping at our current location so joined them! It’s nice to have company :).

Tuesday, October 1:

  • Day: 105
  • Miles Hiked Today: 21.9
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1805.8
  • Update: 1800 miles! Also we’re about halfway through the bear canister portion of the Sierras! We’ve been anxious about the Sierras since our start because the big goal is to get through before dangerous weather comes. So far, we’ve been lucky despite the subfreezing temperatures,  which is all part of the experience. The cold, terrain, and altitude continue to make us slow. It took 10 hours to hike 22 miles today and we only took two breaks. We are also aiming at as low elevation as possible with arrival time by 6pm so there’s plenty of time to get set up before dark. We entered Kings Canyon National Park and hiked along the beautiful Evolution Creek for a good portion of the day,  which was delightful. Over the next two days we’ll cross the three most difficult passes of the Sierras, according to some NOBOs we’ve met: Muir, Mather, and Pinchot. 

Wednesday, October 2:

  • Day: 106
  • Miles Hiked Today: 22.9
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1828.6
  • Update:  Today was both challenging and rewarding! We finally got up to 12000 feet at Muir Pass. The way up was slow and astoundingly beautiful.  The 4000 foot descent was also pretty but difficult for the first few miles due to rocks and water crossings. The last thing I wanted to do was break an ankle up there! We did increase our mileage but that’s because the majority of thre day was fair terrain after Muir Pass… but tomorrow we have to tackle both Mather and Pinchot! We’re planning to get up early and hike by 6am for what will surely be a difficult day of hiking.  

Thursday, October 3:

  • Day: 107
  • Miles Hiked Today: 24.8
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1853.4
  • Update:  Big day! We started at 6am as planned and tackled two of the most difficult passes on a 25 mile day in the high Sierras. Mather and Pinchot passes were unbelievably stunning and we’re glad we didn’t have to do them in snow! The hardest part was probably coming down Pinchot Pass to our current location.  The 8 miles were rocky and stepped with huge rocks that really exhausted our legs and feet. We’re camped tonight with Willy Wonka, Sour Patch, and Blue…and we had a fire! Very social and fun evening…it’s still cold but the temperatures are increasing. For example, our water wasn’t frozen solid this morning!

Friday, October 4:

  • Day: 108
  • Miles Hiked Today: 18.2
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1864
  • Update: We started hiking by 6am again today…partly because we enjoyed hiking with the sunrise yesterday and partly because we wanted to get to town! We had to hike over two more 12000 foot passes to get to a trail head and hope for a hitch to a small town.  We made it and it was a super gorgeous and fairly warm day! 

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