Posts Tagged With: Forester Pass

John Muir Trail: No escaping the tough climb

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The trail in front of us promised a challenging day as it disappeared into the mountains ahead.

Reg and I are not the type of hikers who study the trail map in great detail every morning. As long as we are confident we can get from point A to point B, we look forward the surprises the trail offers, so we were quite pleased when the morning began with a pleasant walk along a fairly flat dirt trail.

But on our 6th day of walking we were aware there would be no escaping the tough climb ahead. Those of us who chose to sit out Mt. Whitney had no choice but to conquer 13,200 foot Forester Pass. The day wore on and the trail became steeper and rockier as we continued the 2,300 foot climb to the top of Forester Pass. We soon found ourselves on a series of long switchbacks, struggling over chunky granite cobblestones and clambering over boulders that stretched our legs to the limit.

And then the mules caught up with us. Normally they were roped together in 3 groups led by Emma, Wyatt and Tate on horseback. Before starting up the pass, the mules were untied for safety. They are pretty sure-footed animals, but if one slipped on the narrow, steep switchbacks while tied together, they would fall like dominoes, scattering rocks and boulders on hikers below.

I’m afraid my photos don’t do the scene justice, nor do they show just how treacherous and how tight the final switchbacks to the summit are.

There is surprisingly little space on the top of the pass, but there are never ending 360 degree views.

I’m looking pretty relaxed after what was easily the climb of my life, but at this point our day was only half over. What more could John Muir confront us with?

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