DAY 7 - Willows Campground to Little Petes Meadow

Distance: 24.6km (15.3mi)
Hiking time: 10:26hr
Elevation gain: 1,820m (5,971ft)
Total people met: 10+
‘One of these [Sierra junipers]… is possibly the single most
impressive tree along the High Route *’ - Steve Roper

Elevation versus Distance graph for the section from Willows Campground / Bishop to Little Petes Meadow for the Sierra High Route

The night was cold, luckily we did sleep at a fairly low elevation. We packed our full backpacks and made a quick pit-stop at the restrooms by the Parcher’s resort, one last piece of civilization before heading back to the backcountry for another 6 days. From the resort, there is a road that leads for about 4miles to the trailhead. We tried to hitchhike to this section, but for the whole time we were walking along the road, no car passed by. Only shortly before the parking lot a Porsche passed by us. He looked at our thumb and we both laughed. What are the odds of this happening.

At 9am we started our ascend to Bishop Pass at the trailhead. It was going to be a long way up and down on the other side. At least all of it along a trail so that we could get some miles done. For some reason, the first part of the hike was super exhausting for me, I could not find a good pace and was out of breath easily. Our packs were heavy due to 6 days worth of food. We did a quick almond snack and water break and I was back on my feet. The rest of the hike up was far more easier and faster than we both anticipated. I guess for the first time we felt by how much our physical condition has improved. Tackling a 3,600m pass was so much easier for us now.

Shortly before the pass, we received a text message from Cleo (Zeno’s sister) that her son was born and everyone is healthy, what great news! Bishop pass was very windy and cool and therefore we directly descended. On the way down to Dusy Basin, we met two women who were hiking the JMT. Unfortunately, one of them had to stop the JMT in Bishop as she strained her ankle. They were moving up very slowly, too bad for her. The descend into Dusy Basin is on a trail and long, but not steep. Our initial plan was to camp at Dusy Basin, however, as we were reaching the Basin quite early, we decided to head all the way down into Little Pete’s Meadow.

The descend is long, tedious and steep. Fortunately, it is on a trail, but the endless switchbacks make the descend very long. At some point, there was a guy riding a horse with another horse carrying stuff passing by us. We were impressed how the horses can manouveur the terrain.

Once we reached the meadow, we were hitting the JMT again and wanted to find a spot to set up our camp. It was not easy to find a nice, flat spot, and so we decided to join some folks sharing a group site. Usually, we would have preferred to find a spot that is away from people, however, on that night, we felt like having company. There were 6 people from the British Army Reserve on a 5 day loop hike through part of the High Sierra. As they were making a fire we enjoyed a lovely conversation with them over dinner.

It was the first night where we were sitting at a camp fire. This is largely due to the fact, that campfires are prohibited in elevations above 10,000 and today was the first day, we ever spend time in such a low elevation. To be precise, the elevation of the Meadow is 8,700 feet, which is the lowest elevation since the beginning of the SHR. Due to this low elevation, the night was very warm and for the first time in 3 days, we had a good nights sleep.

*: we missed it :-(

Finally good weather again after the last two cold days. 
Just 2 hrs from the Campground, such a beautiful scenery. Some fisherman were out.

Refilling out water while soaking in the sun. 

Getting on the last section of the Bishop Pass looking down. 

Heading down from Bishop Pass to Lower Dusy Basin. Still on a trail but already looking forward to go off-trail again. 

Beautiful Dusy Basin.
View down into Little Petes Meadow with a long drop in elevation.

Zeno is realizing how far down we still have to go :(

Heading down endless switchbacks into Lower Petes Meadow. The sun was super strong that day.

Finally reaching our camping spot that we shared with 6 other people. Such a crowded spot.