Yesterday, SpiceRack and I followed the Bishop Pass trail across the Sierra Crest and down to the trailhead at South Lake. Today, we sit in our air conditioned room in Bishop, surrounded by charging electronics, permanently discolored clothes fresh from the laundry, and an eclectic assortment of frozen and fresh foods. Yep, it’s a zero day. Well-earned, I think.
It is difficult to sum up the last week of hiking, of course. It is already blurring at the edges, made soft and feathery by my sun-drunk brain. The days south of Red’s Meadow were defined by crazy beautiful lakes, nestled in the glacier-carved basins that flow down from some of the major east-west ridges of the Sierra: the Silver, Mono, Glacier, and Black Divides. I’ve touched a lot of these places before on shorter backpacking trips, and linking them together on foot has both shrunk the world of my past, and expanded the future horizons. Connecting it all has provided me a stronger sense of place in these mountains. The cross-country nature of this route has forced me to edit or rewrite entirely the geography I learned while reading maps and hiking the PCT.
SpiceRack and I have put a lot of the hard stuff behind us now. Sky Pilot Col from the first section, and now Snow Tongue Pass, once loomed ahead. Now they are safely filed under ‘places that we will probably never see again’. Other regions like the Bear Lakes Basin and Darwin Bench will surely feature on future explorations.
What’s next? Tomorrow, we will get back on the trail to start the last part of this trip, the Southern Sierra High Route. There is a ton of good stuff between Bishop Pass and Horseshoe Meadow, including Mount Whitney and the highest of the High Sierra. I can’t wait to get started. About 100 miles. About one week.
Before I leave to find some more food, SpiceRack found an interesting article published by the Sierra Club including the saddening history of the Eastern Sierra’s native peoples that I would like to share here. I’ve learned a lot (but not enough) about stolen land and broken treaties in the East, but never considered what happened in my own backyard. After reading, it’s easy to see why white history has ignored these stories. There’s not much to feel proud about.
As always, you can track our progress on the map by following the map link on the Where Am I? page.
And finally, here are some more amazing photos from SpiceRack. Red’s to Bishop: