Lone Pine via Kearsage Pass to Middle Rae Lake campsite (mile 793.5), 12 miles
Cost: Camped, free
Peach and berry pie for breakfast, didn’t feel too good on the ride back up to Onion Valley Trailhead! Thank you Rob for giving us all a lift.
The 7.6 mile trail up and over Kearsage Pass was just as stunning as it was 2 days ago but I still stopped to take more photos. Right towards the end of the trail just before we joined the PCT again, I rolled my ankle. Bad. I fell to my knees under the weight of my pack with 7 days of food and even tore a hole in my Patagonia Houdini wind pants when I hit the ground. It hurt and it made a loud popping noise too. I sat on the ground, took off my pack and contemplated whether to take off my left shoe or not. Then Barely & KC came around the corner and Barely who’s a nurse told me to take off my shoe and he looked at it. It hadn’t started swelling so I put my shoe back on and tried to walk. It hurt to walk but there was no other choice. Barely & KC stopped with me when we came to a patch of snow and I put snow on my sore ankle for about 20 minutes, the snow hurt it and tears came to my eyes.
We were a couple of miles away from the next pass called Glen Pass and just as we climbed up higher again, the clouds rolled in and thunder started. Not wanting to be exposed on a granite mountain above the tree level in a thunderstorm, Shepherd set up his tent under a tree and Teflon, KC, Shepherd and myself huddled inside his tent while it snowed and hailed outside. We stayed in the tent for half an hour until there was no more thunder then set off to cross Glen Pass.
Going up was ok (or maybe it was the Tylenol and Ibuprofen I’d taken), but coming down in the snow was incredibly painful. My feet were slipping all over the place and I couldn’t control my ankle so it twisted, slipped and fell through large holes of snow with every step I took. The pain in my ankle had moved from just being a sore ankle to pain all around my heel too. It took a while to come down from Glen Pass and we were being snowed on pretty much the entire time.
Barely and Mr & Mrs Smith were ahead of us and we got a message saying they had set up camp at mile 793.5. This was good news for me as it was only a few more miles before we would make it to camp and I would be able to rest my foot.
About 1 mile out we all took a wrong turn and walked for a mile up hill in the wrong direction. It was a very scenic wrong turn, but not what I needed with a painful ankle. When we came back down the hill and got onto the right trail, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye about 20 metres away on a little island in the middle of the lake. I looked closely and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a black mama bear with two tiny, gorgeous brown cubs. They were walking along the trail that we were headed to! We all saw them and stopped to take pictures then watched as they walked along the trail, coming closer to us. There was another hiker coming down the trail that we shouted out to so he wouldn’t collide with the bears when he rounded the corner. It was the first time I’d ever seen a bear in the wild and it was so so cute to watch the tiny cubs follow after their mum. It made our day!
It was raining/snowing when we set up our tents and we all huddled around Mr & Mrs Smith’s tent out of the rain and cooked dinner. Very lucky for me, Zigzag, a physio, walked into our camp and set up his tent with us. One of the group told him about my fall and he came over and looked at my ankle. He thinks I may have sprained something inside as well as torn a ligament so he wrapped it up with sports tape and Teflon’s Ace Bandage, then I put on the compression sock from Shepherd. I’m so angry at myself for falling on a rock as I did and rolling my ankle and just really really hope that I’ll be able to walk on it in the morning… It’s a long way to Mammoth Lakes with 5 more passes to cross!