Tuesday, December 2, 2014

JMT Hiking Day #14: Rae Lakes to Charlotte Lake (over Glen Pass). Aug. 24, 2014

***5.6 miles with about 1350 feet of elevation gain.

Condensation dripped from the inside of our tent.  It was difficult getting everything, including ourselves, out without unleashing our own rainstorm, but we made it.  I packed the tent wet, and the girls stuffed their damp sleeping bags into their sacks.  We didn't worry too much, though -- we had a short day ahead of us, so there would be plenty of time to dry our gear in the sun before nightfall.

The hike up Glen Pass felt wonderful.  Seriously.  I had read and heard all about how difficult and steep this climb was, but to a New Hampshire hiker, it should feel like home.  The girls -- Sage, especially -- appreciated the directness.  There were no long, gentle switchbacks, no false summits.  Just straight up with quick, steep, switchbacks.  Sage had complained about the JMT switchbacks on each and every pass before this one, since to her (and, frankly, to me), it had been irritating to know where you were eventually headed but unable to take the most direct route there.  Instead, in order to ascend most of the passes, one has to traverse the entire side of a mountain using gentle switchbacks. The girls and I are used to just hiking straight up a mountain.  In New Hampshire, the trails are straight up, over rocks and boulders, and most definitely NOT graded for stock.  Glen Pass, though still graded for stock, felt more natural to us and therefore much easier than any of the JMT passes we had previously undertaken.  Direct, steep, to the point -- that's our hiking style.

View on the way up Glen Pass

We arrived at the top and spent a long time enjoying the morning.  The girls and I ate, drank, and chatted with Don and Debbie, and Jim and Bryan.  We hung about on the summit and celebrated the day...we also watched as a pack mule team came up Glen Pass toward us from the south.  Turns out, it belonged to the same company that would resupply us the next day.  After lounging for what felt like a solid hour, we bid a fond farewell to D&D and J&B.  D&D were going to hike out near Kearsarge Pass into Onion Valley to resupply and J&B were going to hike onward as usual.  We had to stop and wait at nearby Charlotte Lake for almost an entire day for our resupply to arrive, so we assumed we wouldn't see any of our new hiking friends again.  We felt sad as we descended.  It had been a great pleasure to see these good people day after day.

View from Glen Pass--

You can see Charlotte Lake as you walk down from Glen Pass.  It appears on your right, large and beautiful.

 We arrived hours before bedtime, so there was plenty of time to dry our tent and sleeping bags in the sun.  We had the lake to ourselves for a while, then four fellows who were northbounding the JMT arrived.  Soon after, a group of women who had hiked over Glen Pass set up camp not far from our tent. They were on a two or three day backpacking trip...they were so clean compared to us...I could smell the laundry detergent from their clothes even though we were twenty feet away.

Our home for the evening, just up a small hill from the lake...

Sage took this photo of Charlotte Lake not long before we retired for the evening.

Photo by Sage Herr
The next entry, from Charlotte Lake to an unnamed lake just below Forester Pass, will be posted by Saturday, December 6.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see someone else feels the same way I do about switchbacks.. Partminton Pass, I know I spelled that incorrectly, was a pain in the butt, but the end result was surely worth the back and forth!!