Sun, Sep 3, 1995
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The next morning we set out for Bond Pass. I went ahead of the others as much to hike at my own pace as to get away from the mosquitoes. This was September - what were they doing lurking around still? It didn't take long to cover the mile or so from Snow Lake to Bond Pass - finally we'd reached Northern Yosemite. While I waited for the others, I had time to attend to some surgery that my pack was suddenly requiring. The stitching in the hip strap had ripped out, a sure sign my pack was too heavy. Fortunately I had a sewing kit with me (one of the many reasons the pack was too heavy) which I used to do an admirable job of sewing it back together again. Mike and Eric came up to join me shortly before I had finished.
We hiked down to the headwaters of Jack Main Canyon, then turned left at the junction heading up to Dorothy Lake on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was a large, beautiful lake that sits in the very northern tip of Yosemite, and was drawing Eric and Mike into apathy towards any peakbagging. I was interested in climbing nearby Forsyth Peak but could not talk the others into it. They at least relented to give me a few hours to go tag it - I would catch up with them later either at Dorothy Lake or further along the trail. I left my pack and headed up the talus-strewn Northwest Ridge.
It was not a difficult climb, nor very long, only about a mile and a half off the trail. The northeast side of the ridge was an impressive series of cliffs, dropping down to glaciers and permanent snowfields that clung to the sun-challenged mountainside. The west side was gentler and offered easier travelling, so it was this side I tended to when any difficulties arose.
The skies were growing more overcast as I reached the summit, with great views all around. The most impressive sight was the foreboding hulk of Tower Peak that rose to the east not far away. The dark clouds around it made it look more sinister and uninviting, but it somehow drew me in - I must climb that peak someday. It would be eight years before I did. I returned the same route I had taken up, chewing up about two hours in the roundtrip. The others were no longer lazing by the lake as they had been when I left them. I reshouldered my pack and headed up to Dorothy Lake Pass. This is a beautiful area with high alpine meadows and inviting lakes abounding. I caught up with Mike and Eric near a steeper part of the trail heading down to Lake Harriet. From there we continued along the PCT heading north, through forest areas between the West Walker River and its West Fork. It was later in the afternoon when we decided to stop at a shallow pass before the trail dropped down to the West Fork. The mosquitoes were mostly non-existent along here and it seemed it might make a better campsite than if we dropped down to where the trail follows the creek. We made camp and spent the night here.
In the morning we resumed our hike, down to the West Fork, through Walker Meadows, then left up Kennedy Canyon. There was ample evidence of cattle grazing in the canyon, mostly in the way of cowpies littering the forest floor - and it noticeably detracted from the enjoyment of an otherwise beautiful canyon. Two miles up the canyon we decided we might cut off a good mile from the PCT if we struck off cross-country straight up the canyon side. It was a good deal of work with heavy packs, but it was probably faster than taking the trail. We topped out at a narrow pass where we rejoined the PCT as it led back down to the trailhead at Leavitt Lake. We tagged a nearby unnamed peak before heading down to the lake and back to Mike's truck.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Forsyth Peak
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