Big day! Woke up at camp w Bliss at Wallace Creek. To change things up, we pretended we were car camping and put on tunes while drinking coffee. Lots of laughing. First time putting on wet socks and sneakers in am. Not TOO bad, if you can getEdit hiking immediately, otherwise….brrrrr!
The night before, we left Crabtree Meadows, after waking up at 12:45am to ascending Mount Whitney for sunrise, to access Wallace Creek. At Crabtree, we ran into a few hikers who attempted to cross Wallace, and a female hiker got pulled in, and their team got split up. The people who didn’t make it through were at Crabtree and told us they were giving up on the Sierra. Too dangerous. That eve, Bliss and I walked up and down the Wallace River, and Bliss finally picked a spot a little downstream he felt was safest. We camped at the stream, to wait for the others to arrive in the am.
Counselor, Ready, Mountain Goat, and Picky arrived from Crabtree Meadows at 6:30am to continue our sojourn north as a team. A lone south bound hiker forded the creek right at the trail, so we went to talk with him. The water level was lower there than it was the night before. That prompted Mountain Goat and Picky to ford on their own. I attempted to also cross, facing upstream and side stepping. I have no experience with this other than the smaller fords on the trail, like at Rock Creek. When I hit the fastest point of the rapid, strong current in the center of the river, I immediately got anxious and walked back out. Everything seemed so intense, with the loud rush of the water. Bliss linked arms with me, coaching me to lean into the current the whole time. I made it across, but was really shooken up. It was so extreme, I started crying. We then continued walking, to keep warm and to get to the next river crossing, Wright Creek. This river crossing was really tough and a lot of PCTers have had bad accidents here. Bliss talked with the rest of the guys, explaining that we needed to work as a team to get through this section. Mountain Goat, Bliss and I then crossed upstream in the “I” formation, a method Bliss taught us. The largest person first, lightest in middle, larger on back. Hold onto backpack arm straps of person in front of you. Lean into current. Try to step at the same time as lead person. Watch their legs and mimic them (try to synchronize). This is by far the easiest way I have found as a medium sized woman to ford these rivers safely and calmly.
These guys nailed it!:
At Kindell Creek, I went across in the “I” formation with Ready. Going across the river with Ready was so easy, as he is very steady and calm. Three river crossings! Terrifying! Yay! I got through them!
After we nailed the three major crossings for that day, we all found a warm snowless granite spot to take off our shoes and eat lunch. After hanging out for awhile, Bliss and I decided to navigate the rest of the snow at 1pm, and got to the base of Forester at 3pm without too much trouble. Of course there were a lot of sun cups and ice bridges to navigate. You could often hear a river roaring underneath the snow.
What an amazing place to pause for hours – something that we rarely do while hiking as we are always in a race to munch miles. We had time to dance on the granite rocks, paint the landscape, and do yoga. Bliss also led a visual meditation that was mind blowing. We watched the sun set, totally blissed out. I feel so fortunate to have found such a capable, easy going, fun hiking partner. Thank you, Bliss, for making this section so much fun, sharing the gorgeous landscape with me, and for helping me get through those difficult fords and climbs in a way that felt supportive and comforting. We did it!