June 21: Just like going in the VVR, leaving the VVR has 2 options: 1) hike 2 miles down to the makeshift ferry port (with ferry resting on the lake bottom of the very low Thomas Edison Lake), pay $10 for a ride across said lake, hike another 2 1/2 miles to get back to the PCT, continue up and over Silver Pass, a very open, exposed section with very little shade. Or 2) hike .5 miles down a dirt road and pick up the trail to Goodale Pass, which passed over the back side of the mountain, was shady and covered, and rejoin the PCT after Silver Pass on the far side.
I had pretty much, by this time, made the decision that I was going to return in the future and hike the John Muir Trail. Which is the PCT through the Sierras, until the most north section when the JMT goes down to Yosemite Valley and the PCT stays up on the crests. Most people do the JMT southbound, starting in Yoselite Valley and ending at Mt Whitney. Even though it covered terrain I had "already hiked", it would be a different experience, as the JMT is shorter, allowing you to do low mileage days and spend more time exploring side trails or hanging out lakeside. Instead of just pushing out miles, as you need to when through hiking.
Anyway, this is just a really roundabout way of saying that I knew I'd do Silver Pass again I the future, so I wasn't missing anything by taking Goodale Pass. Plus, it wa shady.
As per usual, I wa the first one up and out of camp. I tried to be extra quiet, as I figured that many of my hiker buddies were going to zero in VVR that day.(the fact that they were up drinking around the campfire until midnight clued me in) it was a really cold morning and I actually started the day in hat and gloves!)
It was a quick walk down the dirt road to the trail head. Started climbing, and the hat and gloves quickly came off. ( that's tre other thing I had been noticing on the PCT- the PCT is so gently graded that oftentimes, I felt like I was on a garden stroll. A REALLY LONG garden stroll. But the alternates tended to be a bit more steep and challenging, and I actually felt like I was hiking!) So I had a nice climb through a wooded area in Ansel Adams Wilderness.
After the climb, I dropped down into a high valley with mountain lakes. Again- a bit cold for swimming. (Both the water and the air temp) but they were pretty to look at)
I passed a bunch of southbound JMT ers on the Goodale alternate, en route to the VVR (which I gave stellar reviews in our chats). Perhaps those hikers had reasoned that someday they'd do the PCT and they would hit Silver Pass then.
Lunch was in a spectacular spot. Right by a series of outlet lakes, surrounded by flowers, at around 11,000 feet. I ate with Shutterbug - a JMT hiker- and we enjoyed the setting together.
*note- this was the fourth Shutterbug I had met since Campo!*
After lunch, I reached the trail junction and rejoined the PCT. the terrain had degraded to my least favorite ground to walk on: loose rocks and scree. So I slowed my pace and tread carefully for the next few miles.
I met another southbounder a few miles later, and engaged in a little Abbot and Costello routine for a bit:
Him: "how far to Silver Pass?"
Me: "Oh. A while."
Him: "A mile?"
Me: "No. More than a mile. Much more. You have a while to go."
Him: "I thought it was a mile."
Me: "no. It's a lot further than a mile. Sorry. I wish it was shorter for you."
It went on like that for a mile- I mean a while- and I started wishing I had an extra Snickers to shove in his mouth. He needed it. But I had only one Snickers left and I wa eating that!
Ended the day with a respectable 21 miles under my belt, a mere 11 miles to Red's Meadow, where I would head into Mammoth the next day.