Day 42 – Pacific Crest Trail (25 miles)
Today was different, the temperature did not fall below freezing. This was both good and bad. My shoes were not frozen, which was nice, but the snow did not fully freeze. In fact, it was still slushy in some places as we made our way to Muir Pass. It will be a high snow melt day and we need to get across Evaluation Creek, which is one of the biggest crossings we will face.
Muir Pass is not like all the previous passes we have crossed so far. It gradually builds to a big, round pass. There is no sharp assent at the end.
It turned out to be a beautiful walk. The way up was easy but the way down was trully stunning. Evolution Valley has to be one of the best!
After reaching the pass, we wound our way between frozen lakes (I even stood on one!) and the start of Evolution Creek, all the while surrounded by steep granite cliffs.
After a while we reached a drop down of about 1,000ft (300m). As we decended, we discussed tactics for crossing the creek. We had a report from 2 weeks ago saying that the water level is head high. Given the warmer temperature, I expected it to be above our heads.
Therefore I wanted to cross early and walk down the other side of the Ccreek for 6 miles until we get to the summer crossing point. A slight increase in effort and time walking off trail was well worth the reduced risk.
Wolf disagreed. He wanted to walk on easy terrain and would be happy to swim across the medow.
In the end we parted ways and planned meet up at his crossing point.
I crossed at a medow with almost still water. It was just below waste deep.
I then headed down the valley. Winding my way between trees and over the snow patches. I had a great time. Like last night, it really dawned on me that I like hiking alone. I’m happy to meet up with people throughout the day, but hiking is my time.
I arrived at the medow.
Wolf arrived a couple of minutes later and started scoping out the crossing. The water was a couple of feet over the bank and it was hard to tell how deep the middle was. However, overall it looked very crossable.
Wolf tried it out without his backpack.
He only got to mid waste. So much for head high! He turned around, got his gear, and started crossing the creek for a third time.
We then had a swim in the creek and had a long lunch.
At around 2pm I set off ahead of Wolf.
I reached the second drop-off of the valley. It was about 1,000ft again and gave an incredible view overlooking the valley below.
I sat my stuff down to take a few pictures before heading down. After that was done I set off for the bottom. Reaching the bottom I realised I did not have my trekking pole! Darn!
I took off my backpack and headed up. Hoping but not holding much luck that Wolf would see it behind a rock.
I ran into him halfway up but he did not see it.
After grabbing the pole and enjoying the views for a second time, I be gain down again. I regretted my decision of leaving my bag unattended. It would be kind of funny if a bear got into it.
Arriving at the bottom, I was greeted by Wolf, who was nice enough to guard my belongings.
We continued along the river and eventually ran into the worst sort of problem. Mosquitos! They were so intense. Given how wet the winter was I knew they would be in plaque proportions this year, but that does not mean I have to like it!
We decided to press on a little further than planned. It would start the climb to the next pass and bring us out of the valley and reduce the bug pressure.
It worked and I went to sleep content.