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South Fork Kings River to Middle Fork Kings River: Today, we summited Mather Pass; I couldn’t believe how different the experience was this time through. In 2019, I experienced a near death experience going up that pass. I had followed a path of footsteps on the snow that took a “shortcut” by cutting off all the switchbacks. The only option was to vertically rock scramble jagged boulders with the weight of our 60+ pound packs. I remember shaking and crying as I held eye contact with my boyfriend at the time. Frozen in place after getting a glimpse below at what looked like the face of our death. All that came out of my mouth was, “I’m so scared.” Despite my expression of fear, he had so much confidence in himself and me. Dominance took over him. With focused attention, he told me where to place my hands and feet, and with God’s will, we made it up and over.
I have only gratitude for my ex, for he also had no idea what he was doing, yet he flew out of Chicago within a week’s notice just to do something that could have been a death sentence. He knew how important it was for me to hike through the Sierra and his presence is what pushed me through. If it weren’t for him, I would’ve turned around at Forester.
Now as my tramily and I sat on top of Mather, I looked at the faint trail at the base of the mountain and glanced over at the boulders we rock-climbed. I thought to myself, Welp, that was stupid. 🤣 In the moment of all that snow being there, it was hard to tell what was underneath it. We heard of people post-holing 30’ and not being able to get out and I was able to see how that was entirely possible. There was a point where my ex post-holed several feet beside the crevice of the mountain and I had to pull him out with my ice axe. Only God knew what we faced every day out there. I thanked Spirit for my life being in tact, as it seemed I was not done climbing mountains just yet. My mission as a thru-hiker was only beginning.
After my period of reminiscing, I packed up and we descended the Golden Staircase, which felt like hundreds upon hundreds of steep steps in the heat of the day. We freshened up at Palisade Lake. The rest of the day was scorching hot and most of us felt we were experiencing heat exhaustion. The terrain even began to remind us of the desert. Near the base of the mountain, we got swarmed by mosquitoes, leaving us unable to take an enjoyable break.
An older man stopped to ask CTM and I if we were part of the Colorado Trail group. When we said yes, he goes, “Machine just wanted to let you know he got to camp at noon.” We looked at each other, reflecting we weren’t surprised. Machine was known to run on the trail. He would actually sprint up and down the passes as we watched him disappear amongst the switchbacks.
We arrived to camp where Machine was sprawled out on a rock waiting for us. We set up our tents and made dinner, all of us feeling severely drained from several hours of sun exposure. Celeb passed by our camp and I got super weird around him because I had a sex and polka dream about him the night prior. I looked at him and said, “I had a dream about you last night.” He raised his eyebrows and smiled, “Oh yeah?” I go, “Yes. We were doing it. You know… the polka.” I was so embarrassed by what came out of my mouth and thought to myself, “What the fuck, Goda.” I got roasted by my tramily the rest of the night.