Mile 793 to 789
DC has mentioned several times how absolutely beautiful Kearsarge Pass is. He also claims it is not a difficult pass because you are already starting at such high elevation. I probably could skip it and push on to Forester Pass, the highest point in the entire PCT, but my food is getting thin and I really want to summit Whitney. Whitney is a side trip which requires an extra day of food.
I get an early start and climb Glen Pass while it is still cool. The top of Glen Pass is like a razor’s edge, and I am so grateful not to be doing it in a whiteout blizzard. Kearsarge Pass is pretty easy from the west and the view of Bull Frog Lake backdropped by jagged peaks is as DC promised, quite stunning. Once over Kearsarge the drop to Onion Valley is a bit concerning, only because I know I have to go right back up it tomorrow. At the campground I have to hitch the rest of the way down to highway 395 and the grocery-less town of Independence.
One of the reasons I love backpacking is I feel so independent. Everything I need I am carrying myself. Those that know me well, know that I prefer not to have to depend on others. I usually want to do it my way and pay my own way. That is not to say that I have not benefited from the gracious giving of others. I have and I am truly grateful. It is just that usually those moments are part of an ongoing and at least somewhat reciprocal relationship.
On the trail I am having to learn to live in dependence of others. Acts of kindness, such as my 15 mile ride with a southern California family to Independence, are not reciprocal. I have nothing to offer other than my smell, my self-centered stories of trail life and my humble thanks. I understand the concept of pay it forward and hope I will honor that spirit. But for now I have to get comfortable living in dependence, something still way, way outside my comfort zone.
In town I find a gas station and binge on chocolate milk and Fritos, which I pay for thank you very much. I check out the local accommodation options. I pass on the hostel like bunkhouse and spring for a small private bungalow at the Mount Williamson Motel, run by a woman whose trail name is Strider. There is no laundry in town, so I hand wash the worst of my things in the stink, I mean sink. A taco truck provides me a long lost from my menu carnitas burrito.
Tomorrow will be a long day just to get back to where I was yesterday.