Daily Neet Beat
Today goal was to get back in the high country and start crossing the high lakes and mountain passes off trail. But first we have to climb down to Road’s End, on the west side of the Sierras and hike back up the Copper Creek Trail to the high country. We will have to hike down 2000 feet in elevation and than back up at least 6000 feet which is like climbing out of the Grand Canyon.
I keep telling myself I can do it because I have hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon many times. Maybe I can fool myself that the elevation of going up to over 10,000 feet is no different (ha!).
If you go to the National Park Service website, it says that the climb out of Road’s End up the Copper Creek trail is hot and steep and to leave early in the day or late in the evening. They are not kidding! We hiked the 4 miles from Sphinx Creek to Road’s End where the Copper Creek trail starts and started up the Copper Creek trail around 8:30am.
It was probably getting to be a marginal time to start up. It was HOT as we wound our way up the trail of many switchbacks. I felt like I was climbing a coil; spiraling up with no sign of stopping. And sweating, I was surprised I had that much liquid in my body.
After 8 miles on the trail, we finally leave it to start cross country where we will go over two of our first passes on the Sierra High Route. The route cross country to Grouse Lake is pleasant with meadows and a nice creek.
It is a gentle way to start the “off-trail” part of the Sierra High Route and get into the rhythm of navigating through the high country. The first two passes, Grouse Lake Pass and Goat Crest Pass are fairly straightforward and are good confidence builders for some of the much harder passes to navigate and get over coming up in the next few days. Grouse Lake Pass has grass benches and granite ramps that lead right up to the saddle.
Ray and I start reading the geology. A fracture here, a fault there, it all helps when figuring out how to move through the landscape. Quite simply, we end up hiking where the landscape has buckled, folded, cracked, shifted and wrinkled in geologic times past.
The hardest part of the day is coming down the north side of Goat Crest Saddle.
Steve Roper in his book “Sierra High Route” explains that for the first time the hiker encounters steep and rough terrain and year-round snowfields. We keep to the left as Roper suggests and drop down some granite slabs. We stop after 16 miles at upper Glacier Lake.
It feels quiet and peaceful here as we are not on a trail and have this place to ourselves. A great way to end a tough second day on the Sierra High Route.
Vlog of the Day: Grouse Lake Pass