Sunday August 1, 2021
Start: a few miles past Cottonwood Pass
End: above Guitar Lake
This morning, after another damp night, I woke up at 5:25am to a wet tent and sleeping bag. I dried the tent as best I could and packed it away wet. I was up and out by 6am. My first stop was Chicken Spring Lake, for the only water in 10 miles in each direction. There were perhaps a dozen people still there, packing up and drying out gear when I got there.
I climbed a number of steep areas without switchbacks today, particularly coming out of Rock Creek. I saw more than a dozen people out for shorter backpacking trips. I took a break at the top of that climb and chatted with two backcountry rangers (Crabtree – Chris, and Rock Creek – Matt) who had met up for lunch. Chris graduated from Smith, so we had some lovely conversations about Western Massachusetts and her work in the Park Service.
Once I made it to Crabtree Meadows, I felt more of a bounce in my step, as I linked my PCT hikes together. I took my time on the climb up to Guitar Lake, since it was in the heat of the day and I was feeling pretty tired. At Guitar Lake, I didn’t want to get stuck in all of the tents already set up, so I pushed onward. I did another half mile up to a small pond above Guitar Lake and found some nice camping there and stopped for the day at 5pm, with few if any campsites available further towards Whitney.
My neighbors, Grace and Chelsea, are two queer folks from North and South Carolina, and it turns out that we know some of the same queer and trans 2021 AT hikers. I ended up going swimming in the pond with them, since it was sunny and I need a shower. It was icy cold but hopefully, it’ll help with getting a hitch to town tomorrow!
I’m going to try to get up early enough to summit Whitney around sunrise, but we shall see.