PCT Day 56: Barker Pass

June 16

Mile 1123.3-1145.0 (21.7)

It was very cold this morning, enough to snooze for an hour and a half past my alarm. Even then it was tough to get going. I stopped at the Barker Pass trailhead and called Spider.

Going up to Barker Pass, I met a flip-flop sobo PCT hiker (there are a lot of folks who hiked to KM then flipped to Northern California to hike south, hit the Sierra, then flip back up to continue north). He told me there was 100 miles of snow left. I felt hope and despair.

The trail stayed up on a ridge for most of the morning. The north side was snowy, with an icy quality due to the cold temps. I could see Lake Tahoe to the east, brilliantly blue, and mountains upon mountains to the west, speckled with snow and dark pine. It was lovely, except for the violent wind.

Started to descend just past a closed ski resort. It was snowy and steep so I veered off the trail to go straight down to the end of the snow then walk across loose dirt to rejoin the trail. I feel bad sometimes for treading on the small plants and compressing the soil, but snowy trail is nasty sometimes, especially on steep and icy descents, and I was sick of falling and sliding.

It was nice to get back on trail. I so appreciate just hiking, taking a break from active navigation. I crossed Five Lakes Creek and soon after started climbing again. There was more snow waiting for me at the top of the climb and I got turned around once or twice. Made it to my second closed ski resort and started my second big descent. This one wove around big boulder-filled cliffs to get to a nice section with a stunning view of the green valley below. I met The General, Flora, and Pebbles, more flip-flopping sobos, who told me I was the first woman they’d met who came north through the Sierra.

I hiked a few more miles on clear trail (and met yet another flip-flopping sobo, T-Rex), then made camp just before the big climb up to Tinker Knob and beyond. I’ve got intell that the 5 miles beyond are snowy and at 7pm it felt too late to tackle that. Not super excited for the icy snow in the morning, but what can ya do. Gotta keep hiking.


2 thoughts on “PCT Day 56: Barker Pass

  1. That has a ring to it — “North through the Sierras”… Glad you decided to wait till morning to tackle that snow!

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