The first 5.5 miles was the tail end of the alternate trail and was it tough. Switchbacks were lacking or when they did exist they were way steeper than I'm used to negotiating. An 800' climb in 8/10 of a mile - yup, that's steep. From Dutch Miller Gap the views were stunning with swirling clouds and wind.
Through the gap we saw Lake Ivanhoe which we passed along the right hand side, open the the view and exposed.
Down, down, down we went, via switchbacks when lucky, and steep, slippery, mucky trail when not.
We finally reached the PCT at 11 am, having taken 4 hours to hike 5.5 miles. I was beat already because of the constant focus and attention to the trail which was required to keep myself upright. But we took a long break, set up tents and dried sleeping bags from the dampness that covered everything this morning. By noon we were ready to tackle the 7.5 miles required to get us to Deep Lake.
What a difference! Good trail, well graded and maintained is such a joy to walk along... I'd almost forgotten. In fact, a couple of hours in I found myself singing and whistling and realized I hadn't done so for 2.5 days. I could finally relax and look around me at the scenery as well. Which is not to say it wasn't hard getting here because we were beat by the time we arrived. Climbing is climbing after all. Still, I am happy to be back on the PCT.