Days 49 to 51 (Nearo and Zero Days)

We had plans to meet friends the day after climbing up and over Forester Pass. After coming down from the pass, we camped in a relatively snow free spot near Vidette Meadow. We were only a few miles from Kearsarge Pass (the planned meet point), so we slept in until 7 and took our time packing up.

When we finally got on the trail, we were surprised to find two other hikers camped within shouting distance of where we had stayed. We hadn’t seen a single person the day before, and here were two people camped practically right next to us! They were both off to a slow start as well. Hiking through snow is exhausting for everyone.

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We departed the PCT at Mile 788.5 and headed east past Bullfrog Lake, towards Kearsarge Pass (11,771′).

Bullfrog Lake
Bullfrog Lake

The wind picked up as we neared the top. We really had to lean into it to take our last few steps up and over the pass. The forecast called for 70 mph gusts that night!

We met our friends, Casey and Lacey, somewhere on the way down. The four of us decided to set up camp at Gilbert Lake – a little bit lower and hopefully more sheltered from the wind. We were sharing wine and sorting through the resupply of food that they had brought us when a wind gust completely flattened their tent. It popped back up after a few long seconds. So much for finding a wind sheltered campsite.

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Our campsite near Gilbert Lake
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Looking over to the Owens Valley from where we camped.

Our original plan was to pick up the resupply and continue on, but we changed our minds at the last minute. The weather was looking pretty unsettled and we both felt like we needed a break before tackling the next few passes. We decided to hike the rest of the way out and spend a couple of nights off the trail.

Yay pizza and beer!
Yay pizza and beer!

We’ve spent the past day and a half eating a lot, resting, and tweaking some of our gear choices. The gear shop in Lone Pine helped us replace the busted tips on our trekking poles. We also picked up some additional clothing to get us through the forecasted temperatures ahead (low 20’s at night). Tomorrow morning we’ll head back to the trail, bright and early.

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8 thoughts on “Days 49 to 51 (Nearo and Zero Days)”

  1. Just stay safe and keep other options (like skipping ahead to lower elevations) in mind. We root for you and wish you the best!

  2. Congratulations on making it so far already. Be safe and keep it enjoyable. Don’t turn it into a job by doing stuff just because you feel you have to. If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend visiting the Sierras again in the summer, maybe doing the Sierra High Route or some off trail or lightly traveled trail concoction of your own.

    1. Thanks Mike. We hiked the JMT about six years ago in August. It’s been really interesting seeing the same landscape in the snow.

    1. Thanks Ed! The weather certainly was a little unsettled, but fortunately the wind wasn’t bad after that one night at Kearsarge Pass.

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