Today: Mather Pass. I had heard different accounts of this pass. One said it was pretty chilled and nothing to worry about whilst another said we would absolutely not like the other side. The first account came from another northbounder, whilst the second came from a southbound JMT hiker who had already hiked the pass this year. Hmm.
The pass took a gradual ascent again, so in one sense was quite easy. But the paths were rocky which makes for challenging if not strenuous hiking. The rocks are currently pink granite shards. I had listened to a talk on the geology of the PCT at the Kick Off event, and remembered something about granodiorite and the amount of feldspar contributing to the colour. Unfortunately my memory is like a sieve and I can’t remember much more. The lightest coloured rocks are the lightest in weight and rise to the top of the magma as they come to the surface. I guess pink is pretty light. It’s pretty too.
We sat for a while to watch the chipmunks on top of the pass, and again looked out over a stunning lake and its waterfalls. On the way down the hill, I noticed the sound of the waterfalls rising and falling as we moved in and out of towering rock formations. The marked difference suggested that sound travels poorly in this thinner air, but it could just be that I have more time and attention to notice.
Descending into the forest, the bugs started to come out in force. Camping at Little Pete Meadow, we were surprised by one hiker who came over to warn us that the group crowded around the campfire could be pretty obnoxious and they would try to keep it down now we had arrived. I thought this was a strange thing to say about his own group, but I was grateful for the warning and we moved around 500 yards down the trail to the other side of the meadow. Hikers are a bizarre bunch.
Camping: 831, Little Pete Meadow