Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 11: Evolution Basin, Blisters, and a Bear

Saturday, August 18, 2012

North Evolution Lake (mile 130.1) to Middle Fork Trail (mile 148.4).

Today's miles: 18.3
Trip miles: 148.4

We experienced out first chilli night last night. It was windy too until midnight, also a first. Despite the colder temperatures and the wind, I slept very well - only waking up 3 or 4 times during the night.

Although I had over 18 miles to cover today, I was in no rush as the last 12 miles were downhill. The wolfpack and I broke camp and started walking through beautiful, rugged, other-worldly Evolution Basin towards Muir Pass at 7:30 am.

South Evolution Lake
Evolution Basin is one of the most popular destinations along the John Muir Trail - and for good reason. The scenery is spectacular. The alpine peaks and abundant alpine lakes are magical.

Frogs at Wanda Lake
the shoreline at Wanda Lake was riddled with frogs
Wanda Lake South - should be called frog lake
swimming frog at Wanda Lake
Looking north while ascending to Muir Pass
We reached Muir Pass at 10:45 am and took a well deserved break at the Muir Hut. When the entire group arrived, the wolfpack and I finally took a group photo. After today, it's likely we won't see each other again. Hope those guys have a great end to their trip.

Muir Hut at Muir Pass

Inside the Muir Hut
the wolfpack (from left to right: Tyler, Jake, Jeff, Colin) and me at Muir Hut 
The trail south of Muir Pass is quite rugged, but superbly beautiful. I managed to stay safe there, but further down the trail, I slipped and almost fell on my face. My knuckles got banged up a bit, I tweaked my left knee, as well as my neck and the muscles in my right upper mid back area.

heading south into Le Conte Canyon
Nothing broken, spirits still high - on we go! Just have to be more mindful to not take pictures when it's sprinkling, the rocks are wet, and I'm hiking downhill.

Dropping down into Le Conte Canyon was really beautiful, even in the rain. Yes, it rained again today, albeit for only 90 minutes. I still enjoy hiking in the rain. In fact, at times I look forward to it because everything instantly smells better when the drops start falling. Only drawback is that the rocks on the trail become super slippery. This particular stretch of trail had even more distractions though. Dinosaur rock and more wildlife made it difficult to focus on the trail.

dinosaur rock...really cool
going in for a closer look
curious deer in Le Conte Canyon
I stopped at the Le Conte Ranger Station to say hello, but no one was home. Sign said the ranger was out patrolling. That made me smile because he was out doing what he outta be doing instead of stuck inside those log walls. I did run into George, the backcounty ranger, down the trail and chatted him up a bit. He's in his 70s but is lively and in great shape. Ranger George, you are an inspiration sir!

Le Conte Canyon Ranger Station
Continuing down the canyon, I felt another hot spot coming on. This was the third one, and they have all occurred on long downhill sections of trail. I immediately stopped, applied second skin to the wounded area and continued walking. I must make note to be more mindful and take it a bit slower on the long, brutal downhills. My feet got battered and bruised the last few days and are now showing signs of overuse with not enough care.

amazing views such as this get me in trouble on the trail.
I rolled into camp at 4:52 pm. There's another party camped near me, so after I dropped my pack and trekking poles off at my chosen campsite, I went to say hello. The older fella was brushing his teeth so I waived hello and proceeded past him. He turned around and with foam coming out of his mouth mumbled, ”can I help you?”

”Just came by to say hello” I replied. ”I can't talk while brushing my teeth” he responded back with a tone. ”I understand, that's why I was walking over towards him” I replied with a smile as I pointed in his son's direction. Though not very friendly, I chatted them up for a bit and walked back to my camp. Just as I turned my head towards the river, I saw a black bear on the opposite side of the river from the not-so-friendly campers. I ran back to their campsite and alerted them of the bear, which had already made its way down the river bank.

Sore feet, sore knee, sore neck...all gone in that instant as adrenaline consumed my body.

I came back to my campsite, erected my tent, took my dinner and went to the river for another dinner and soak. I can't describe to you how good it feels to dunk my feet into the cold river water. In fact, it felt so great I decided to take a 30 second shower. I feel so refreshed. Afterwards, I stretched for 20 minutes and feel amazing.

quick river shower after dinner...very refreshing
One thing I haven't mentioned yet is how my food plan is working out thus far. In short, I LOVE how I planned and executed everything. Cereals taste great and I look forward to them as I eat two bars and hit the trail early. Snacking on the variety of bars throughout the day keeps me going, and my dinners are delicious! Today's rice noodles with basil pesto, mushrooms, grilled onions and carrots was fabulous. I am never hungry throughout the day and because I have to make an effort to eat all of the days' food, I don't really crave anything, except fresh fruit.

Yet another glorious day on the trail. Feel like I definitely belong right here, right now, doing exactly what I am doing. I learn tons everyday (about these mountains and about myself) and meet many wonderful people who are just as happy to be out here.

It's almost hiker midnight and I'm getting drowsy. Goodnight.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ~John Muir
posted from Bloggeroid

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