Day 20 on the John Muir Trail…
Our goal this morning was to reach Forester Pass before noon, and we got there just before 11:30am. The route up looks like piles of gravel with the occasional patch of snow and lake a the bottom of the slope, but there is a surprising amount of life flourishing in the high altitude.
The trail cuts across a steep slope of scree that is often covered in snow, making it even more treacherous. Keep your eyes on the trail. When you want to look around, stop and steady yourself first.
In our case, we had a few patches of snow, but their were plenty of boot prints leading the way and it wasn’t too bad.
When we reached Forester Pass, we celebrated! We took the requisite photos, ate a snack, and communed with the marmots.
On the south side of Forester Pass, the John Muir Trail drops down a series of expertly engineered switchbacks in a narrow chasm, then winds around the steep sloping scree to the basin below.
Once in the basin, the trail continues downward on an easy grade to Tyndall Creek. There were patches of trees, and we were able to find a shady spot for lunch.
As we headed on, we passed a couple trail junctions, and our first sign announcing the distance remaining to the top of Mt. Whitney! It was thrilling to realize that we were actually going to complete the JMT! We could practically smell it. Oh wait, that was just us…
Although we had already hiked over Forester Pass, we weren’t finished climbing for the day. We had about another 600 feet of elevation gain up to Bighorn Plateau.
Finally the trail dipped down into a valley and we reached Wright Creek. Tonight we would sleep in the shadow of Mt. Whitney.
Trail Map: Forester Pass, Bighorn Plateau and Wright Creek
JMT Day 20 Photo Gallery
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Tomorrow, we head to Guitar Lake, just below Mt. Whitney.
Originally hiked on August 15, 2010.