Today Brad enters eight hundred trail miles of sheer beauty, challenge and pleasure, going from high mountains to deep canyons, as he heads into "The Range of Light" as John Muir called the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Central California PCT crosses eight passes above 11,000 feet, with the highest being Forester Pass at 13,180 feet. For over 200 miles the trail has no road crossings. That's what the central California PCT offers and that's what Brad is about to experience -- beginning today, I think. He arrived in Kennedy Meadows on the 14th and planned a day of rest yesterday.
Photo by Drew Glazer
Leaving Kennedy Meadows it is up, up, up for 60 miles and three days of hiking, with Mt. Whitney (approximately 15 miles within the southern boundary of Sequoia National Park) being the destination. Plant life will transition from pinyon pine and scrubby juniper to lodgepole pines in the subalpine zone. This route requires a bear canister and an ice ax is recommended. Given the isolation, many thru-hikers plan to stock up and hike an uninterrupted 10 days to Vermillion Valley Resort. Others take a side trip to Independence or Bishop. I don't know what Brad has planned. I do know he, Charlie and Hannah did a large resupply in Lake Isabella. The hiking group is at three right now as Dave headed back to San Francisco.
In about two and one-half weeks Ed and I will be meeting Brad. We think we'll be finding one another in the Yosemite area.