PCT: Day 236: Donahue Pass

Day: 236
Direction: Southbound
Trail location: 1737.7
Cumulative miles hiked 2019/2021: 2383
Cumulative miles hiked 2021: 366
Miles hiked today: 14.7
Elevation: 8774
High/low temp/humidity: 67/53/70
Spinning on the turntable: Billie Ellish: Happier than ever

I made an early start today to try to put a little distance between myself and my camp mates. It’s about ten hikers that are treking together, and they drove me a little batty last night. I’m a sociable enough fellow, but I really don’t like being crowded in camping areas unless there’s no space. There was a great deal of open camping space last night, but Ethl Merman and her partner camped about ten feet away from me. Party foul. Ethl discussed what time they should have dinner, where the water was at, what time they should go to bed, what time they should awaken, what time they should depart, and on and on….

SO, I made a early exit around 6:15 this morning and headed up the mountain. Almost immediately I bumped into the steps.

I swear to all that’s holy, I don’t know who designed these steps, but they’re instruments of torture! I found it easiest to walk my way up the edges of the steps, on the rim, rather than walk up the middle of the steps. The rocks in the middle hurt my feet when my feet land on them at the wrong angle. Judging from all the evidence around the outside of the steps, I’m not alone in my method.

It was a slow crawl up the hill, but the sun popping over the mountain was a great sight. I hit the top of Donahue Pass, 11073ft elevation, and snapped a selfie.

I bumped into a North Bound John Muir hiker and she expressed extreme satisfaction that she was wrapping up the trail. She said that she’d almost done the entire JMT and was looking forward to being done hiking. I can relate, but I’m really just headed into the high mountain passes myself, so we’ll see what I look like on the other end.

I stopped my descent and gave my dad a call to check in and see how he was doing. Normally we chat/txt every day, so the long stretches without cell service are kind of odd. Sometimes when I have service after a few days I’ll have a message from his care facility, or my moms care facility, or no calls at all. It’s a crap shoot.

It’s very smokey today.

I’m not sure which fire this smoke is coming from, but it sure is thick. It’s a long downhill after hitting the summit this morning. It’s quite muggy and I kind of wish that it would just rain and get it over with!

I passed 1000 Island lake early this afternoon. The rest of the day was spent in a easy downhill glide passing hikers who were headed up towards the lake for a weekend of camping. I often find myself questioning if I would hike in to visit a spot like 1000 Island Lakes. Often my answer is ‘no’. Beautiful sites, but perhaps the reward isn’t worth the effort in my book. Odd to say that since I’m hiking the PCT eh?

I called it a night next to a cliff and tried out my Survivor buff that my brother Scott gave me in 2019 after our thru-hike attempt.

My camping spot is about 30 feet from the trail and just a bit exposed. I ended up pooping on the cliff side and trying not to laugh at the thought of some poor hiker looking the wrong way at the wrong time and catching an eyeful of my bum.

I did laugh pretty hard at a rider on/in a mule train/pack train/whatever. The leader meandered by on his horse as calm as could be, followed by five or six mules loaded up with supplies, followed by two tourist/trekers/campers/whatever, followed by four or five more mules, followed by an end rider. Everyone was very sedate except for one tourist. Her mule was a bit feisty, so she was bouncing all over the saddle like the mule was at a full gallop. I’m sure it wasn’t polite to laugh, but I couldn’t help myself. Too funny.


  1. Heidi Halverson

    You still got it. That spark. Go go go.

    • mcgarveysan

      Oh I am going for it!


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