JMT - Day Eighteen

August 10, 2015
11 miles today, 184 miles total
Arrowhead Lake to Bubbs Creek

Courtney and I left camp at 7:30am. We wandered through the beautiful Rae Lakes, enjoying the sunrise in such gorgeous terrain. We passed Heather and Jennifer quickly, and after two miles we had reached the base of Glen Pass.

It didn’t look too bad on the elevation map, and remembering how brutal it was climbing the other side, I figured this side would be much easier. Unfortunately, the switchbacks went on for two miles up a sheer cliff, and it turned out to be the hardest pass we had summited, yet. I took each step slowly, but it felt like the torture would never end. Occasionally I glanced back down the trail, where Heather and Jennifer were little dots below me. When I finally reached the top, the trail walked along the spine of the mountain, overlooking the Painted Lady before it dropped down the south side. When Heather and Jennifer caught us, we rated Glen Pass the worst, ate snickers bars, and looked down at the dotted lake valley. We tried to name all the peaks on the horizon; one of the distant red mountains was Pinchot Pass – and it seemed impossible that we were so far away from it already.

 From Glen Pass, looking north

From Glen Pass, looking north

 From Glen Pass, looking south

From Glen Pass, looking south

When Andrew reached us, we started down the four mile descent through more desert-like terrain and then into the forest. Heather and Jennifer parted ways with us at the Kearsarge Pass junction; they were meeting Heather’s husband who was going to join them for the remainder of the hike. They would camp with him tonight and then hopefully catch up with us tomorrow.

Andrew, Courtney and I continued down to Vidette Meadow to have lunch, and then went another four miles along Bubbs Creek. It had grown very hot again, so Courtney and I stopped to go for a swim in the creek before reaching camp. The camp had a beautiful view, and even a metal bear vault for stashing our food! The presence of more established campgrounds was an indicator that we were growing very close to our destination of Mount Whitney, and the end of our journey.

Courtney and I set up our tent and went down to the creek to collect water. To our great surprise, Jennifer, Heather and her husband Chris caught up with us around 5:00pm! It was great having the whole crew together, and we were impressed Chris was able to cover so many miles his first day out. Even better – he had packed in whiskey and oreo pudding! So we made dinner and enjoyed the treats, staying up until the late hour of 8:30pm laughing and telling poop jokes, until at one point Andrew rolled his eyes and said, "in my whole life I don't think I've heard as many girls fart as I've heard in the two weeks I've been with you guys," which of course only made us laugh harder.