Day 169 (Oct. 6): Mile 972.7 – 951.1

Benson and Beyond

Beginning Elevation = 7,600
Ending Elevation = 8,750
Elevation Range = 7,600 – 10,100
Weather: Sunny with a high of 65°F

I decided last night that I was going to take my time getting going this morning. I wanted to actually see and enjoy Benson Lake in the daylight. I was happy with the decision for another reason too. I didn’t end up sleeping great since the wind picked up overnight and my tent was acting particularly flappy. I believe the main culprit was the sand that I’d put my tent stakes in. It seems that the stakes partially pulled out sometime during the night, allowing some flapability to take place. Sheesh, amateur mistake coming in after almost half a flippin year of being out here.

Anyway, I woke up to a wonderful view of the lake right outside my tent zipper, just as planned. At least I got that right…

I commenced to cooking and eating my traditional breakfast of oatmeal (strawberries and cream today…hasn’t gotten old) and coffee mocha. Afterwards, I did a bit of exploring and scrambling (I believe I’m stealing that word from nieces who enjoyed “scrambling” up the rocks around Sedona). So here’s looking down on my campsite shore from above…

Yep, that’s one sleepy looking Stevie Wonder. It’s not a bad view looking away from the lake either. Once the sand stops, a sort of dry looking grass exists prior to forest. And a cone/dome-like mountain was just hanging in the background…

Sumi was getting some early morning sun bathing in just as the sun popped over the mountains and hit the beach…

Meanwhile, I was packing up and such. Before heading out though, I couldn’t resist my old habits of identifying and classifying soil (here’s for you ERM’ers following along). I’d say we were dealing with a medium to coarse grained Sand, well graded, few gravel, trace fine sand, dry, very loose, tan to light orangish brown, with no observations of visual staining or unusual odors detected.

All in all, a pretty fantastic evening/morning camping at Benson Lake. Now I had to climb from 7,600 feet elevation to 10,100 to get through Benson Pass. Oye! I left the beach at 8:15am and was back on the PCT hiking before 8:30am. It was about 6.5 miles up to the pass. I put on the tunes pretty quickly into it needing all the help I could to get me up the sucker. Pretty views helped too. Here’s looking back where I came down yesterday from Seavey Pass, now in full morning sunlight…

I went by other tall rock towers too…

I hadn’t looked at Guthook’s closely and so was pleasantly surprised when I had a reprieve from the climb about halfway up to Benson Pass. There was about a mile and a half section that was gentle and even downhill for a bit. It was during this part that I came to the picturesque Smedberg Lake.

I sat right on the shore on those flat rocks and had a PopTart (fudge flavored…hasn’t gotten old) watching as the trout frolicked about…

It was hard to leave this wonderful spot, but a limited amount of of food to get me to the next resupply town kept me moving. Just passed the lake was this nice meadow.

I’d end up going through several similar ones today.

I made it through Benson Pass!

Once through, the trail dropped back down to around 8,500 feet. I stopped near the bottom for lunch right along Wilson Creek, which I’d been following along with. My spot was right by a little waterfall. I didnt go chasing it, but did do a quick rinse of the feets and legs in the pool at it’s base. Icy cold refreshment.

The trail leveled out for about a mile where Wilson Creek flowed into Matterhorn Creek. It was super gradual. The trail turned and I now followed along this new creek upstream. More pretty meadows…

And then, it was up again to more spectacular Yosemite mountain views…

Around 9,500 feet-ish, the trail leveled off again and this time went along the shores of Miller Lake.

For about 2 miles I hung out up there before descending back to around the 8,500 feet range. Things would remain around that elevation for the rest of the day and generally be pretty gradual.

I arrived to camp at 6:00pm! It was a spectacular spot that I found a tad off-trail with a lovely view. My tent itself was slightly slanted, but I could handle that for the view.

Today’s Music:

Judah and the Lion – Kids These Days

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

Jack Johnson & Friends – Best of Kokua Festival

Dispatch – America, Location 12

2 thoughts on “Day 169 (Oct. 6): Mile 972.7 – 951.1

  1. Brian Beach

    Your soil classification is on point! I concur with your determination 🤗. I also wonder if it is at all intimidating to wander through those picturesque meadows with those rocky crags looming over you? I imagine a booming voice asking “what is the air speed velocity of a swallow?”


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