I got up early to finish the last mile over Pinchot Pass at 12104′, then caught up to people at Lake Marjorie on the other side. We didn’t have to go quite as far down between passes this time, only to about 10000′. Then it was back up the approach to Mather Pass.
We ran into some more AT ’13ers, Mountain Goat and Peanut, just before lunch. I hadn’t seen them since the Smokies and didn’t know they were out here. They were headed southbound since they got to the Sierra too early and flipped north.
Lunch was at the South Fork Kings River in a little area with a wading pool. That water was cold. Nutella caught up to us there just as we were heading out to get up the pass.
I feel like I am almost back to normal with regard to breathing and hiking speed. Mather Pass at 12047′ did not take long to get up at all. I didn’t spend any time at the top since I suspected the steep down would take a while. It definitely did, but that was also due to how gorgeous it was and the amount of pictures I had to stop and take.
The trail went down past the Palisade Lakes and then followed Palisade Creek steeply downstream, past many waterfalls and just into the most picturesque valley. I found out later that this was the last section of the John Muir Trail to be completed and it looks beautiful: lots of stone steps and what almost looked like landscaping.
We eventually made it down into camp around 8700′. There were so many mosquitoes that I got in my tent as soon as I finished cooking dinner. 18.4 miles today.