Vidette Meadows Over Forester Pass to Crabtree Meadows – John Muir Trail, Day 12

  • Day12/13
  • Distance (miles)20.8
  • Pass 10 of 10Forester Pass
  • Pass Elevation (ft.)13,200

As I woke up at Vidette Meadows on the twelfth day of our JMT backpacking trip, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. Don and I were gearing up to conquer the famous Forester Pass, a significant milestone on our journey. However, as we started our morning routine, I could sense that Don was not feeling his best, and I could tell he was running slower than usual. Luckily, we had given ourselves some extra time that morning, and I made myself a hot breakfast with coffee, ready to take on the day.

Creek surrounded by mountains near Vidette Meadows.
Heading out of Vidette Meadows towards Forester Pass

Vidette Meadows to Forester Pass

The sky was overcast, and the forecast predicted thunderstorms, adding to our already nervous excitement. With Forester Pass in our sights, we knew we had to make it to the summit before any storm hit. Don set a blistering pace, and I managed to keep up for an hour before my large breakfast caught up with me, and I started feeling nauseous. I took a break to reset, and Don continued on, breaking away towards the summit.

After my nausea subsided, I decided to take a slower pace, and Don soon came back into view as he took a break. We continued our push, stopping to chat with other hikers on our way up to the summit. By noon, we had reached the summit, but storm clouds were quickly rolling in, and we knew we had to get moving.

Climbing the north face of Forester Pass on the PCT.
The view looking north from the summit of Forester Pass

As we made our way down towards the treeline, we heard the first crash of thunder, signaling that we had made the right decision to head back down. Storm clouds were rolling in from all directions, and we knew we had to high-tail it to the treeline. We made it to the treeline, and although it rained persistently for the next few hours, the lightning faded away, and we managed to achieve our goal. We were alive and well, ready to hike another day.

Storm clouds loom overhead in the valley below Forester Pass.
Into the valley, the storms are closing in on us

Crabtree Meadows Campground

The remainder of the hike to Crabtree Meadow campground was uneventful, and we finally made it to our campsite for the night. The campsite was bustling with campers, all eager to tackle the mountain. We were exhausted but determined to rest up for our hike up Mt. Whitney the next day.

We settled in for the night, enjoying some pasta for dinner, the last of our meal swaps from our Muir Trail Ranch resupply. As we set up camp, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the experiences we had on this trip. Tomorrow will be the last leg of our journey, and we were excited to see what it held for us.

Entering the forest near Crabtree Meadows campground.
Heading into Crabtree Meadows, the rain has stopped and the skies are clearing up

Forester Pass was a significant milestone for us, and as I reflect on the day, I am grateful for the chance to experience it. It was a challenging hike, but we made it through, and I am proud of us for pushing through, despite of a couple hiccups. On to  Guitar Lake and Mount Whitney for the last hike of this amazing adventure.

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