Saddle to the Sierras / by Luke Weisman

Near mile 680 I passed over a saddle between two mountain tops and I noticed an amazing transformation. The landscape shifted, there were new smells, and new plants, there desert diminished, and I knew I was looking at my next leg of the trip, the Sierras! They were finally here.

I love it, and I earned it. The desert was hard, harder than I thought it was going to be, especially right near the end. A forty mile stretch with no water nearly got me, those two days were my lowest moments on the trail so far, but I made it through, and now it's completely different.

Water is everywhere! Trees and shade everywhere. The spirits of every hiker that I meet high, everyone is smiling. This is what it's all about! And now Deet is also what it's all about...I may have gotten out of the desert (tough as it was), to now deal with the mosquito hoard. Annoying biting bugs or long heavy water carries? I know which option I'd sooner take.

Some of the highlights so far are, trekking over Forester Pass, a 13,000 foot high section, the highest point on the PCT. Sliding down a snow incline and bruising my ass on a rock. Drinking unfiltered water straight from snow melt off from the peak of a mountain. The challenge of multiple stream crossings.

As always I can't wait to see what comes next. It's never what I think it will be.