Chapter Twenty Nine – South of Tuolumne

We made it against all odds onto the legendary John Muir trail. This is the trail we thought we’d skip and it filled us with excitement to know we weren’t going to. Now we were conditioned to hike one of the hardest hikes the PCT has in store. Mt Whitney was where we were headed, the tallest mountain in the US south of Alaska. We’d still have some challenges to face before we got there…


“Dreadfully, the snow started to stick to the ground. We kept hiking fast. The mountain pass before us was slowly closing in with snow cover. It became a blizzard, a complete white out. The scenery had vanished beyond the meticulous trail work of the John Muir trail. Even the staircases themselves were going under snow. It was the early season snowstorm like the Donner Party faced. I led the way through the dimly glowing, white-out dusk. Maggie was tenser for the fact her glasses were fogged up and wet with snow. All she could see was me and she followed. We were going uphill, but maybe it was time to turn around and start going down however possible. Back the way we came. The top of Muir Pass didn’t seem like a good place to be anymore.

Then the trail became hard to find. It was vanishing under the snow. I stood there squinting at the white fog for a long time, not moving, Maggie silently waiting. It was time to find ourselves on a plain of snow, ever deepening. We didn’t know how much would fall. We were well above 11,000 feet now and it was coming down so fast. We were helpless, we were at its mercy. I prayed for our safety. We continued marching up Muir Pass, but it was a difficult decision to make. Stay the course or flee back down? Both bad options. Both uncertain.”


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