Bighorn Plateau

Start: Rock Creek, PCT mile 760
Stop: Tyndall Creek, PCT mile 775
14.25 miles
3679 ft. up, 2232 ft. down

It’s a slow climb out of Rock Creek canyon. I huff and puff, trying to dislodge the altitude brick that rests squarely on my chest. I’m grateful no one is around to see how often I stop to catch my breath. By 11am I arrive at Crabtree Meadow, the notorious west-side launching location for Mt. Whitney summit attempts. There are several PCT hikers there prepping to leave for the summit. Over lunch, I eavesdrop on their stories.

Sunlit pollen cone. It’s allergy season in the Sierra!!

The afternoon is a series of climbs. The heat and my negative thoughts don’t make it any easier. I spy the perfect sitting spot and stop for a break. I chug water and electrolyte as I try to cool down. I’m about to get up when along comes a total surprise. Puppy, who I know from PCT 2013 and lives in Lone Pine, is out for a short section too. We chat for a long while about her recent Hayduke hike and Whitney rescue adventures. What a treat to run into a trail friend!

Bighorn Plateau aka Marmot Heaven

After a couple easy river fords, I slowly make my way up to one of my favorites. Bighorn Plateau. It’s like marmot heaven up here. Marmots run and frolic in every direction I look. There’s a serene silence that draws you to pause and listen. The marmots go about their business without much of a care for this human. Only three mule deer seem to notice me as they lazily trot off. If it weren’t for the beating sun, I’d probably sit and make friends with the marmots. 

Headed for that tiny little notch on the right, Forester Pass

My day ends on the banks of the Tyndall Creek ford. I find a camping spot not too far from Puppy and away from the continuous creek chatter. There are a few mosquitoes hovering during my dinner but they are easily dispatched onto their next life. 

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