Lone Star and I were traveling together now. It is better to have a partner through this landscape. Our pace was well matched, but we were traveling more slowly than we could have imagined. The slower pace had one obvious effect, our food supplies were running low. Lone Star was almost out of food; I had enough to get through but not without some cut backs. But , of course, I would share with Lone Star, so this meant scarcity rations. Through out this entire section there is also no cell phone contact.
We crossed Pinchot Pass at 12,130 ft, after which we had to cross several swollen creeks and rivers. The King River was coming up, a ford where a PCT hiker died in 2017. The solution, sent to me earlier by a legendary mountaineer was not to cross. Interestingly the PCT is designed to cross the river and then 2 miles later, to recross this river. So we skip the first crossing, traverse along the edge of the river for 2 miles and rejoin the PCT where it crosses back. Sounds fairly straightforward, yes?
The south side of the King River is a maze of large and small streams raging off the mountain side, feeding the River itself. There is no actual trail on this side for those two miles. The many tributaries wind and braid together making it difficult to stay close to the main river bank.
Crossing one of these tributaries, the stream bottom was deeper than I had estimated, the flow just strong enough at that depth to pull me over. I screamed as the icy water soaked my clothing. Lone Star on the bank was able to reach my arm and managed to pull me upright and kept a grip on me as I struggled up the wet muddy bank.
Fortunately we were close to our chosen 11,000 ft camp location (the reunion with the PCT). Even as we put up our tents the temperature dropped below freezing.
Lone Star without my asking, brought me a spare, dry pair of pants and a piece of his clothesline (to hold them up). Even with the clothesline I would not be able to hike in them but they worked to sleep in.
Ringing as much water as I could from my wet clothing I arranged a clothesline in my tent and hung the freezing pants and shirt. There was little sleep that night, I dreaded the coming 4 am wake time and shivered with the cold most of the night.