Day 18: In Which We Appreciate that 13,153 Foot Forrester Pass Is Really High and Continue to Ogle at Trailwork

Daily: 13.0 miles
Trip: 195.0 miles
Camp: Tyndall Frog Ponds

To answer the most obvious question first, no, we didn’t see any frogs. Disappointing, actually, since the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog is one of the most critically endangered frogs in the world. There are fish kills being performed by the National Park Service to restore their habitat and we did see a large number of tadpoles – perhaps it’ll be different in a few years.

Forrester Pass is really high. At over 13,000 feet, it’s the highest pass we climb and only the top of Whitney is higher on the JMT. I feel I deserve a cool ‘This body backpacked over Forrester Pass’ t-shirt. We climbed all morning to get there and, seven miles later, we were on top. Rocks everywhere. Peaks now visible everywhere around us. And the amazing Sky Pilot flowers at our feet as well.

The way down from the pass was insane. Massive trail work had been done to create the walls that supported the three foot wide trail as it switchbacked for thousands of feel down the mountain. Awesome! And a little scary too…

Once we were down however, it was just a five mile cruise into a campsite. Despite the strenuous climb, is was a pretty easy day. Time to eat extra food, do a bit of a wash up (it’s day 11 without a shower) and rest. We’re still enjoying the hike, but I’ve also reached the point where I’m ready to be done. I’m starting to miss my family, the comforts of home, and good food quite a bit!

Easy 10 miles tomorrow and our summit day with 15 miles of hiking the day after that.

Day 19: In Which We Finally Figure Out Which Mountain Is Mt. Whitney And Learn to Properly Appreciate Shade