This morning I woke at 230a. When I finished packing up, I noticed that the Texans weren't up yet. So I went over to wake them up and I think they alarm didn't go off. I headed out since it was super cold. I hiked in the pitch dark for awhile but saw the stars so clear. I came across three sets of eyes staring back at me in the dark and it was quite frightening. Every time I would turn my head towards them, they were looking right at me. I had no idea what kind of animal they were but I finally lost them. I had to filter some water in the freezing cold but I was totally out.
It was a slow climb but I finally reached the forester pass approach just as it was getting brighter. It was absolutely FREEZING. The wind was blowing so hard, my whole body was numb. I really wanted to wait for Nate and Meg but I had to keep moving so I wouldn't get too cold. As I got closer and closer to the pass, I kept getting more nervous that I would be climbing by myself but I could see another guy up there. I finally reached the "sketch" part which was crossing a somewhat short snowfield but had a very steep drop off. I first watched the guy cross and he was ok. Then some other people passed and it was fine. I kept waiting for Texans but I was just too cold so I decided to just cross on my own. I put on my spikes and took out my ice axe. I mainly just used the axe for a better hold on the inside slope and made sure to kick in my spikes for each step and I made it across just fine. The sun was getting close and I made it over the pass into the sun. I was finally up forester pass! It was such a great feeling.
I met the Texans up at the top and there was no wind and we were in direct sun. The descent down was all snowfield but it was nice. Not too slushy yet. We got to a part where we got to glissade. I was still in my long underwear but didn't want to change so I just went down in it. I already had a snag at the butt so it just grew a little more. :( We finally started getting lower and lower till we were finally done with the snow and was able to take off our spikes. It got slushy pretty quick. We entered into kings canyon and it was soooo pretty. All of the Mts were so huge and close. There were also marmots everywhere. The snow was melting so fast and most of the rest of the trail was running water or muddy. It was kinda annoying trying to avoid our feet getting wet the whole way. We pretty much tried to book it down to the next junction ASAP so we could do lunch.
We finally reached the junction and it was another mile straight up 1k ft to the bullfrog lake junction. It was really tough doing another steep climb that afternoon. I was slugging hardcore. We finally made it to the top and just took a lunch at the junction. There was still 7.5 miles left until the exit to the onion valley trailhead. We got after lunch and all of a sudden I hear someone call my name and it was John Zahorian!! So crazy to run into him on trail. Never would've thought I'd see him! He's been going so fast. It was so fun to catch up and talk. I hadn't seen him since Seattle just a few weeks before I left for San Diego.
We reached the bottom of the kearsarge pass and it was yet another climb steep up the whole way. It was beautiful though. It was hazy out bc of a controlled fire burn but it made breathing really hard. Our throats started burning pretty bad. We got to the top and tried getting service. We got some and made some reservations at the courthouse motel in independence. Met a hiker named Craig who was super sweet and asked if we were keeping trail journals - hi Craig! From there, it was already around 4pm so we hauled it down kearsarge pass in order to try to get a ride. We heard it's a hard hitch since it's a trailhead so I started trail running down. We saw a bunch of hikers coming up that we knew so that was fun.
We finally made it down but had no luck getting a ride from any day hikers. It was just late in the day and no one was really on their way home. We sat around but no luck. I finally recalled the motel and they hesitantly came and picked us up since we were staying the night. They wanted to charge us all $20 for the ride but negotiated to $10 each so we took the offer. We would've not had any other ride back out. A man named Paul who was helping his sister run the motel picked us up. The road down from the trailhead was SO windy and he was driving a little crazy. We finally made it all way down from 10k to 4k ft in town. What a huge difference in temperature. It was in the 90s at the bottom!
I ended up sharing a room with Jackie and mike who already had a bed for me. Nate and Meg got anther room. We met them at the taco truck for dinner. It was awesome. I got chicken quesadillas. My friend John Cody from Austin was in town randomly and came over and brought us pizza. He was staying in the room next to us. We caught up a bit and passed out. It was nice to finally sleep on a bed.