August 14, 2010: south of Bench Lake Junction to south of Bullfrog Lake Junction
I got an exceptionally early start and was atop Pinchot Pass before sunrise. It was a cold hike to the top of the pass and this was the first pass where I had not seen any other people at the top. I sat and enjoyed the view for a while before continuing south on the trail. I started seeing smoke on the descent from the pass and it got thicker as I reached the bottom. I was concerned that there may be a forest fire in the area and would later find out that there was in fact a fire within 20 miles. The smoke obscured the view of the mountains and irritated my eyes. This was disappointing as I passed through the reputedly beautiful Rae Lakes area. I had planned to camp there, but did not see a campsite that I wanted to stay at. I looked at my watch and my maps and decided to climb Glen Pass that afternoon. I met two brothers who I had seen repeatedly since leaving Muir Trail Ranch and they also planned to get over the pass that afternoon. It was an easy climb and I found a nice campsite by a creek about 3 miles south of the pass. This had been a 13 hour day of hiking. I had been planning to get over one pass per day, so this put me one day ahead of schedule. It seemed possible to finish two days early, but that would require hiking 22 miles the next day. I wasn't sure if I could do it or not as I had never hiked that far and this included the 13,200 foot Forester Pass.
next page: Crabtree Meadow
view of Marjorie Lake from Pinchot Pass
"The Golden Gate of the Sierra"
view of the upper Rae Lake from Glen Pass