Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 50. Waterfalls and alpine lakes

8 miles
766 to 774 (Tyndall Creek Ford)

Today was a short mileage day to get set up before Forester Pass tomorrow. After doing high miles and always feeling the drive to push towards Canada, I had a hard time trying to figure out what to do with the extra time.
At Wallace Creek (mile 770), Arizona saw a sign for Kern Hot Springs in 11.8 miles. Wow a hot springs! I was in a quandary about whether or not to go. I ended up hiking down the trail with Arizona for an hour before turning around. In that time, we saw the most spectacular scenery I've seen out here thus far. A gorgeous waterfall- absolutely breathtaking in a valley surrounded by mountain peaks.
 Hiking with Arizona is a blast- he jokes around a lot and we have great conversations. It feels like hanging out with an old friend, even though I've only known him a few days. 
Arizona really wanted to go all the way to the hot springs, but I was reluctant to venture so far from the PCT. For one thing, I didn't have a map. But the deciding factor was that I had in my head that I need to stay moving towards Canada. That a diversion even to something as wonderful as a hot springs wasn't part of the Plan. I realize that I seem to be getting even more goal driven and concerned about making miles. I had hoped before starting the PCT to take time for side trails- I hoped I take time to enjoy the scenery. But I got scared. In the end Arizona and I parted ways, and I headed back to the PCT. 
I ran into Robin at a stream ford. She is "thru-fishing" the PCT, and we went off-trail exploring out to an alpine lake for a few hours to look for fishing holes. We circled around the lake, trooped through bogs, and stared in awe at the gorgeous scenery. It turned out to be such a stunning day because of my forays away from the PCT.
I am camped at the ford at Tyndall Creek (10,800 feet) with a bunch of other hikers setting up before Forester. Arizona arrived at camp late in the evening and even though he didn't make it all the way to the hot springs, he had quite an adventure and saw tons more waterfalls. I'm so glad he made it here so we can climb Forester together tomorrow.

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