PCT Miles: 767 to 774.5 + 1 from campsite 
Miles: 8.5
We get a later start, because we don’t have passes, just creek crossings. We’re trying to get as close to the notorious Forester Pass as we can do we can do it early in the morning while the snow is still hard.
I hike by myself for a while because the terrain is still dry. LiterBit and Co wait for Sole Sister and I at the crossings. I feel bad – I’m happy to scout crossings, but because I’m not as fast I always arrive later, and I also get the sense that the group doesn’t trust me to find them. I’m feeling weird about my position in the group, like a hanger-on, not someone who is contributing and capable. I try to tell myself this isn’t the case and just be grateful that their judgment is good and they are finding safe places for us to cross. 
Patches of snow slow us down, as does the and altitude. I’m struggling to figure out how to take care of myself while also group hiking – I feel guilty when I need a break to eat so I often keep pushing and then start crashing, and even when I push I lag behind. 
We cross our last Creek for the day, Tyndall Creek. We get back to trail and find some shade/sun and eat while we dry out our shoes and socks. We want to try to do a couple more miles to get nearer to the pass, but Lysol, who has been hiking with us, is encouraging us to stay. Rainfly gets his stuff together and goes to find his own campsite in the next few miles. There are already several campers setting up camp where we are. Eventually Co and Sole take a look at the upcoming section, which they can see with a little walk ahead, and realize it’s largely snow covered and slanted. That settles it. We’re staying. We set up our tents. 
Just as I’m finishing up getting camp ready, Karma and Nirvana walk up. “How did the stream crossing go?” I ask. 
“Eventful,” Nirvana says, and I look closer and see that Karma is crying. She’d fallen in, lost her poles and banged up her knees. She’d caught herself on the bank – she’d only been a few steps in – and gotten back on shore, and then Nirvana had gone back to cross with her. She was okay but shaken. I got up and hugged her and tried to keep from crying, too. Karma is one of my favorite people out here and an incredibly strong hiker and it hurt to see her hurt. A little later, after she’d gotten set up and started cooking, I went over to chat with her. We caught up a little. I tell her I’m nervous about Forester, especially because of how Whitney went with my group where I was by myself for some sketchy sections. Soulshine says I should be clear with the group that I don’t want to be alone. Karma tells me that after the crossing she’s feeling nervous too and it’s nice not to be alone in that. I really missed her and Nirvana, and Soulshine is really nice too, and I’m really glad we’re traveling in the same bubble again, even if I’ve attached myself to another group. 
I hope I feel a little braver tomorrow. I feel like I haven’t had time to rewrite the story of Whitney into one of triumph (I made it up and down despite my fears) and instead it’s replaying in my head as a series of what-ifs – what if Forester is worse, what if I’m alone again, what if I’m not safe?
But there are only three options on the trail, really. You stay put, you turn around, or you move forward. And I intend to keep going.