|Hiking along Cottonwood Creek|
Soon enough the creek and trail turned to the west and began the ascent to the Cottonwood Lakes basin below Mount Langley. This 14,026 foot mountain, just a few air-miles south of Mount Whitney would dominate our view for much of the morning.
|Cottonwood Basin. Mt. Langley is in the middle, New Army pass slight left at the top of the cirque.|
|Mule deer near a lower Cottonwood Lake. Mt. Langley above.|
To cross the divide and reach the west side the trail climbs an ancient glacial cirque, cresting at New Army Pass - elevation 12,300 feet.
|A near treeline "moonscape."|
|Glacial cirque with New Army Pass near the center. This nearly 180 degree panorama flattens the amazing view.|
|Cottonwood Lakes basin from cirque wall near New Army Pass|
|The last stretch of trail to the pass|
|New Army Pass with Mt. Langley still dominating the view|
|The view west from New Army Pass - Great Western Divide|
|Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep!|
|Big Whitney Meadow in the rain|
|Susan says I'm a rain magnet. I don't understand why. :-)|
The PCT intersects Cottonwood Pass right at the crest. A quick drop of 1,100 feet through foxtail pine forest with a Sooty Grouse every few hundred yards brought us to the edge of Horseshoe Meadow. A short cross-country jaunt took us back to the correct trailhead and our waiting car.
|Horseshoe Meadow from Cottonwood Pass|
Accent: 3,500 feet
New Army/South Fork Junction
New Army Pass
Rock Creek Trail Junction
PCT Mile 755
PCT Mile 750/Cottonwood Pass