Welcome To The Sierras


Finally, the high Sierras! I’m camped with a group of excited hikers tonight at Chicken Spring Lake (11,250 feet) after an uphill 21-mile day. Around my tent are snowdrifts five feet thick, and the lake is mostly frozen solid. We sure ain’t in the desert anymore…

I was actually expecting more snow since hikers reported epic conditions in this area earlier in June, but apparently the recent hot weather melted a lot of it. There is plenty of bare ground, and the trail has been easy to follow so far despite lots of snowdrifts on north-facing slopes.

This is just the beginning of the real mountains, though, and who knows what lies ahead. I met a hiker today who had turned back after he lost the trail under continuous snow about two days from here, and I’m anticipating half a dozen really gnarly stream crossings this week, besides some steep climbs. Tomorrow looks like a 16-mile jump to Crabtree Meadow, probably followed by a Mount Whitney ascent the day after.

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