Day 69 took us through our last, beautiful stretch of Kings Canyon, along a rocky river chasm where we hiked past huge cedars and stands of aspen.
On Day 70 we went over Selden Pass—a less dramatic climb, but the view on the north side was breathtaking.
We took the Bear Ridge Trail from the PCT down to Lake Edison, where we walked across the dam above the almost empty lake to get to Vermilion Valley Resort.
We’d stayed at VVR as JMT hikers three years ago, so it was nice to be back at another familiar spot. We spent a zero day at VVR, racking up a tab in the restaurant, and learning from a guidebook that the huge tadpoles we’d seen in a lake on way to Muir Pass could have been 4 years old.
We hiked out of VVR on Day 72, taking the trail around the west side of Lake Edison to maintain our continuous footpath from Mexico—rather than taking the small “ferry” boat across the lake to the north side of the dry lakebed.
We had our second permit check of the trip at Mile 878—our first was four days earlier on the hike up to Muir Pass. After carrying that piece of paper for over 800 miles, it’s nice to be able to show it off.
Next up was Silver Pass, which I had no memory of from the JMT hike but which was very pretty. On the hike down from the pass we hit the 1/3 mark of the trip: 883.36 miles.
I’m not sure if it’s time of the year or the location or some combination, but the mosquitoes have become truly terrible near any form of water… or in the woods… or in a meadow… anywhere, really. Setting up camp has become a frantic, flailing race to get the tarp and net tent up before being eaten alive.
On Day 73 we met up on the trail with Fancypants’ friend Peter and his friend Rich, who had come out for a long weekend of hiking. It was nice to have company—and new conversation—as we made our way to Red’s Meadow, a resort slightly off the trail where there’s a restaurant and a campground. We passed the 900 mile marker on the way.
Day 69, June 15: 18 miles, 845.9 to 863.9, Sallie Keyes Lakes overlook
Day 70, June 16: 18 miles, PCT Mile 863.9 to 874.4 + 7.5 miles on Bear Ridge Trail to VVR
Day 71, June 17: Zero miles!
Day 72, June 18: 14.5 miles, 6 miles around Lake Edison + PCT Mile 878.7 to 887.2
Day 73, June 19: 19.8 miles, Mile 887.2 to 906.5 + 0.5 miles to Red’s Meadow Campground