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Tyndall Creek to Vidette Meadow: We woke up early and began our ascent up Forester Pass, the high point of the PCT. I truly could not believe that I hiked the same section a few years back. Back then, I woke up at midnight to ford two rivers chest deep. When the sun began to rise, all I saw was fields upon fields of snow. I sat on top of an exposed boulder tip to put on my crampons. I grabbed my ice axe and proceeded to make a vertical ascent up Forester, dismissing all of the switchbacks. I was so cold and physically exhausted but had to keep moving since I was wet from the river fords. It took over two hours to ascent 1 mile.
This year was completely different. It felt as if the main experience of the JMT was missing. The Sierras felt naked without the snow and I longed for the challenge of the snow traverses and river fords. Still, it was a beautiful surprise to witness what lied beneath the ice. It felt like I got to experience the trail for the first time in a different way.
After we summited, we trekked a couple miles down to find a crystal blue lake formed by the snowmelt. It was ice cold so we took a quick skinny dip and cleaned the dust/dirt off our bodies.
When we arrived to camp at Vidette Meadow, I took a moment to go sit near the base of a mountain. I find it sweet the way we humans try to teach each other to be humble and kind, yet truly, nothing has to be spoken. That’s the very reason I have been so drawn towards the mountains for they speak not a word, yet they emit power, radiance and humbleness by simply being as they are.
At the beginning of the JMT, I found myself wanting to talk a lot, wanting to be noticed, wanting to make people laugh… you know, all the fun ego stuff. I caught myself becoming loud, trying to be heard, trying to be “cool”. And tonight, when I looked upon that mountain, I could feel its energy guiding me to stillness… its solid foundation reminding me to quiet my outer voice so I could hear my inner one.