BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

JMT Day 6 - Purple Lake to VVR cut-off trail

 Thursday , July 5th

It’s morning and I am sitting on a two-hundred year old stump watching the sun begin to shine down on the creek flowing into the lake with a background of Lodgepole Pines covering the slopes of a mountain side like a thick head of hair – and I am wondering the why.  Not the how but the why.  I understand how the basic forces of nature interact, the rhythms and the cycles of the ecosystems both large and small -but why is a question that is a little harder to understand.  Why does a tree want to keep reaching upward toward the sky, living out all these harsh conditions year to year for hundreds of years and in the case of the Fox Tail Pine up to 3,000 years?  Then I realize that a tree won’t ask that question and neither will any other element of nature or animal except man.  So perhaps why is just a human question and really irrelevant.  Perhaps everything happens just because it is good.  And I thank God for it.  And I praise God for all the beauty that he has surrounded us with and I ask his forgiveness for ever doubting his existence in my frail human moments.  And I pledge to God that I just want to be a good part of his design – and that is more than enough – that is all. 
Purple Lake
The lakes were covered with yellow dust from these pollen cones of the Lodgepole Pine that were ripening and blowing everywhere.  If you were to touch them they would fall apart and coat your hand with yellow dust.  The wooden pine cones with scaled seeds that we are more familiar with are the female cones.  These pollen cones you see here are the male cone and all pine trees produce both male and female cones.

I get what is an early start for me heading south from Purple Lake by about 8:00am.  Today I will be crossing Silver Pass, elevation 10,895 feet, and I want to get as many miles in as possible so I can be close to the trail junction for Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR).  The VVR is 7 miles off of the JMT, but I would like to go there because they have a store, restaurant and hot showers for hikers.  About a half a mile up the trail I met a NFS trail crew clearing blow down for us.  They have a large good looking white spotted mutt with them that growled at me a couple times as I passed.  It looks like he makes a good guard dog and I remember hearing him a couple times barking last evening.  I take a picture of the crew and marvel at the fact that they were doing all this tree clearing by hand.  They could have easily packed in a chain saw with a mule to help them and make it a bit easier but wilderness regulations forbid even them from using any power tools out here.  It’s good to know that our Federal Government is going to such lengths to keep some parts of the country pure, wild and natural.  
NFS Crews hard at work clearing trails of last falls blow down

By 9:30am I am already 2 miles down the trail approaching Lake Virginia and I can feel my mountain legs and lungs kicking in.  I have a lot more energy already then I did at the start of the trip.  As we were coming down Donahue Pass on day three, we observed a hiker just motoring up the pass without slowing down or taking any breaks.   It was marvelous to watch him effortlessly skip up the mountain with his pack and I wondered if I would eventually be able to do the same.  Lake Virginia offered a wonderful vista and I stopped to do my best to capture that picture but this is the best I got - never seems to do justice.  

Lake Virginia

At the lake I meet a PCT hiker called “Swiss Army” who says he is averaging 18 miles a day hiking though the Sierras.  PCT hikers have a tradition of giving each other trail names and Denny is his real name.  Denny looked to be in his 60’s.  It seems that most PCT hikers fall into one of two categories.  You’re either elderly and already retired or very young and don’t have many responsibilities yet.  These are two groups of people that have the time to embark on a three to four month hiking adventure.

I keep moving all day, lunching mostly on trail bars and make it over Silver Pass midafternoon.  At 10,200 feet I observe Western Hemlock and over 10,500 feet I begin to see Fox Tail Pine.   There are some truly beautiful specimens of these pines in this park with thick mats of needles covering their entire branches and giving them a bushy fox tail look.  Needles come in bunches of 5 and the bark has an orange tint to it.  The young needles make for a good mountain tea also if you ever get the chance to try it.  I hike until it is almost sundown and cover a total of 17 miles for the day which would be the record for the trip.  I camp very close to the junction of the VVR trail next to a creek that flows into Lake Thomas A. Edison.
Approaching Silver Pass

View From Silver Pass

Jeffery Pine towering over my campsite at sunset


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