June 17: I awoke early and was ready to go by 5:45- as the whole group had discussed the night before. Unfortunately, I found that when I came out from my tent spot behind the boulders that I was the only one who had actually taken the plans to heart. Everyone else was still sound asleep,except for Chia Pet who groggily told me that she felt exhausted and nauseated and was going to sleep in. Onward, solo!
Mather Pass was not as long a climb as Pinchot, as the valley for Marjorie Lake was at a significantly higher elevation than Rae Lakes. On the way, I passed a couple other hikers suffering from elevation sickness, like Chia. She was actually having spotty vision. I ran down to the river and got some water for her and told them to stay put, drink lots of water, eat, maybe even nap. But don't summit if the symptoms don't go away.
The climb up Mather was short, but the descent was really, really long. It took the entire afternoon. Lots of rocky switchbacks. But- as the sierras seemed to do- also with lots of beautiful lakes and stunning views. I took a really long break by a lake - jumped in and out quickly- and then napped on a rock while I dried off.
I talked for a while with two guys who were doing the John Muir Trail. They has lots of questions about the PCT on Southern California, as they were planning on doing the PCT next year. I hiked on and found a beautiful camp spot by the Kings River. About a hour later the two hikers came by,looking for a camp spot. So the 3 of us took a (very short) swim in the river and camped next to a babbling brook. Another great day in the Sierras!
Peace, love, and trail magic!