Lower Palisade Lake – South Fork of Kings River Crossing
10,615 – 10,040 (+ 1,485/ – 2,060) – 9.3 miles * Mather Pass
Free Maps Online – Day 19 – Map 6 and 5
Morning was also still a little cold up high by the mountain lakes. We lazed about as Busted Magic got ready to split for Northern territory. Sanjay was taking a zero so he was mellow and just hanging out with us as we slowly packed up camp. Suddenly a fellow came around the corner. This was beautiful to witness. He saw and started to recognize Joe, just as Jake/Floyd was recognizing him and he turned and saw Jake and there was quite a reunion. It was High Life! Jake has met High Life on the AT two or three times over the years. I have heard many High Life stories – none of which I will be sharing here. Truthfully, I don’t remember many of them. (Jake has a lot of AT stories.) And the ones I do remember are not really for this forum. But it was cool to watch the reunion and to meet High Life and get some pictures.
The rest of the ascent to Mather Pass was breathtaking, but the views from the top are indescribable. This was the first time that we could clearly see the trail going off for over a mile and could also pick out where we would walk through the next valley and up into the next series of peaks. Truly awesome.
The descent went well and quickly and soon we were back in tree cover, down in a valley, and searching for a camp. We found a great place that could have fit at least 40 tents. After we were set up and starting dinner, a fellow approached and camped with us. I won’t describe too much of our visit with him. He was a weird guy, having an odd hike, and he had a few strange habits. He had done a re-supply at the Chevron in the town of Independence – the town we would hike to for our resupply in a few days. He made the weirdest meal I have ever even heard of – Ramen and Doritos. He heated the water, put the ramen inside his Doritos bag, and then added the water and let it sit. A few minutes later, he had what looked kinda like a cross between a burrito and a loaf of bread, made entirely of Doritos and Ramen Noodles. Weird.
After he left early the next morning, we named him “The Werewolf of Chevron” and sung many a verse we made up to the tune of Werewolves of London.
“He’s a hairy handed gent, who doesn’t use a tent. Lately he’s been overheard in High Ridge.” “You better stay away from him, he’ll steal your last slim jim, and he kinda smells like pee-pee.” There were many more, but you get the idea. (Kelly, I was totally remembering “Cross-Eyed Baby” from the one day I took you to Church!)
We slept well and long. I had been planning to leave my rainfly off and enjoy the trees and sky through the mesh of my tent, but the Werewolf creeped me out enough that I put it on for some privacy. Even Joe erected the tarp that night – though that could have had more to do with protection from mosquitoes than the Werewolf…