PCT: Day 248: Glen Pass & Kearsarge Pass

Day:248
Direction: Southbound
Trail location: 1865
Cumulative miles hiked 2019/2021: 2528
Cumulative miles hiked 2021: 511
Miles hiked today: 14.6
Elevation: 10747
High/low temp/humidity: 70/50/25
Spinning on the turntable: The Struts: Everybody Wants

Today is my moms 85th birthday and I don’t have cell service to call her. I’m hopeful that at some point during the day I’ll have enough reception to make contact.

Yesterday the rumor was spreading both North and South on the trail that the Whitney Portal was closed. Needless to say, this caused the JMT hikers are great deal of angst. The Portal allows Whitney hikers to exit the trail after completing their climb. No portal means they either hike ‘back’ to the JMT/PCT and then out, or they don’t summit Whitney.

I wasn’t inclined to summit Whitney, even though my PCT permit would allow it. With my ankle woes, I’m even less inclined. I think I can survive with the PCT thru-hike being my primary bragging point, not Whitney.

The climb to Glen Pass was long. Long and steep for the last mile or two!

When I made it to the top of Glen I sat for about a half hour and ate a double Snickers bar and drank some water. I’m really tired. I’m really not sure how to approach the passes if I’m not doing a pass every day. I’m loathe to amp up my miles and end up with two passes in a day, that doesn’t seem like fun. Yet, today I’m going to do exactly that. Time for Kearsarge Pass!

How tall is that step?

This is a good example of the “stairs” that give me trouble. Please note that the stair comes to the bottom of my knee! Not all stairs are like this, thankfully, but many are just like this. I’ve not met too many hikers that don’t grumble about the stairs. (We’re just never happy!)

I took the side trail off the PCT and headed for Kearsarge pass. It’s about 7 miles off trail, and it seemed like it was a lot of uphill. Guthook will show the elevation on the PCT, but it doesn’t show anything aside from position on the blue lines. I didn’t bother with the Garmin, too much work to dig it out.

It was good to make it to the top of Kearsarge pass, but it was better to connect with AT&T so that I could call my mom. She didn’t realize it was her birthday, and I didn’t mention it. We chatted for about 15 minutes. Today was a “hard looping” day for her with the repeating questions coming about every fifteen to thirty seconds. I generally call my mom in the morning before lunch. Afternoons are worse for her as the days activities tire her out and her confusion increases. I’m hopeful that the call gave her a few moments of peace and joy. It’s hard to know if I’m calling for her, or calling for me.

The entire time I’m chatting with my mom my phone is dinging, popping and clicking as messages, texts and voicemails roll in. After I finished speaking with my mom I turned off my phone. There will be enough time for everyone else later. Time to hike again.

Heading down from the summit I couldn’t help but notice that the trail went down, and down, and down. It’s gonna be a pig to hike out of here with a full pack of food!

I’m going to take a few days off with Noelle, rest my ankle, eat a lot of high calorie food, and then return to the trail for one last big push. I have less than 100miles to go. Almost there. Almost.

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