Mile 2592.4-2627.7 (35.3)
An early start today. When my alarm went off at 5am, the moon was still out. I watched it disappear behind the mountains to the west, then started packing up. Hiking by 5:45am in the cool, dim light.
I climbed up to Cutthroat Pass in shadow and met the sun at the top. Partially blinded, I could still make out the jagged peaks of mountains all around me. Small squirrels scurried over the talus as I hiked along. It was so quiet, so lovely. Short switchbacks led me down to another pass. I let a train of six llama by on their way back to Rainy Pass after delivering supplies to trail maintainers. Then I passed the trail maintainers, including Anke, who I last saw at Tuolumne Meadows. It was really good to see her again.
I hiked down into a valley, through forested switchbacks and across trickling streams. The trees thinned out and the sun beat down on me as I started climbing back up to the ridge. It was a long climb, and I felt tired. But as I got higher and higher, I could see the beautiful mountains all around me, some still dotted with patches of snow. It was quiet except for the rustle of a small breeze. Not a cloud in the sky. I switchbacked up to the ridge and stood in wonder at my surroundings. I have been in a constant state of awe for two weeks. Really, for four months. This trail is amazing.
I walked along the ridge, scree falling away to valleys and mountains rising on the opposite side. I could see the trail far in the distance. There were many section hikers out, especially near Hart’s Pass. One kind couple asked if I was thru-hiking and offered me licorice.
I crossed the road at Hart’s Pass, the last road until Canada, and climbed through a meadow buzzing with grasshoppers and squirrels. I hiked through small passes on the rocky trail, my feet feeling every sharp edge. My shoes, the ones I found in a hiker box at Callahan’s, are nearly worn through.
Windy Pass, Foggy Pass, Jim Pass. The sun went down and I found a nice spot on the ridge for cowboy camping. I am so happy to be cowboy camping tonight. It is my last night on the trail and I want to sleep under the stars.
As I was falling asleep, I noticed the bright white glow of the full moon peaking through the trees. I remember back at Scout and Frodo’s, under the April full moon, they told me I’d see five full moons over the course of my hike. I thought I might be too fast but I guess they were right. Four month hike, five full moons.