8/5/2018 Evolution Meadow –> Muir Hut
This morning I woke up pretty early, but Justin didn’t (again). I packed up my stuff and started getting my stuff out for breakfast and putting on my boots when I realized that I would have to take my boots back off in a bit to cross the creek. I decided I would just cross and then eat breakfast over on the other side and wait for my feet to warm up while Justin got ready, as he was just waking up at that point.
I crossed the creek and froze my toes off then sat on the other side warming up some oatmeal and tea as they slowly regained their life. I sat and waited for Justin, sipping my tea, and realized I wasn’t feeling very well. I was kind of queasy and nauseous. I decided to drink more water and take it a little slower today, even if I didn’t get to where I needed to be or got separated from my hiking buddy, I needed to do what was best for me. Justin came across the river and said that he felt like he needed a little bit of solo time, which worked out for me. He hiked ahead as I finished my tea and put my now thawed out feet back into my boots. At first I was a little bit annoyed because I had waited for him but then I realized that the time I took to sit and rest made me feel a bit better physically and that my body needed it.
I started hiking and listened to my e-book and instantly felt better about the day ahead of me. It is really hard to let a bad mood take over your mind when you are surrounded by such beauty! I kept going and suddenly I could hear laughter, singing, and voices that sounded pretty familiar. I went around a corner and found Ramiro, Taylor, Luke, and Justin hanging out in McClure meadow along with two girls, one who had a Ukelele and was singing loudly and beautifully!
There was a water bottle full of whiskey being passed around and lots of laughter and life. I sat and ate a snack and listened to the singing for a while and took a swig of the whiskey, but declined any more. I still didn’t feel too great and I’m not really a hard-partying person anyway, but I enjoyed the conversations and joy that flowed out of the meadow. One of the girls was a trained opera singer and she filled the valley with her beautifully haunting voice until it echoed off of every blade of grass and caused deer at the edge of the meadow to look up from their grazing and stare (that honestly happened I’m not even exaggerating on that one). The two girls were hiking the PCT and going northbound, so they were heading toward where we had just come from. Taylor, who said he ran the hugging booth at burning man “taught” the girl with the Ukelele how to hug and Justin got in on the action.
Before long, I wanted to get going but it was clear the others would be staying for a while. Tayor let me know that he, Luke and Ramiro were planning on sleeping up at Muir pass tonight and Justin said that he would be joining them. I said that I would shoot for the pass as well and hopefully see them later, then I said goodbye and got back onto the trail. I was listening to an e-book about capitalism and how it had progressed through American history, which was really interesting, except for the fact that it was written around 2006 and published in 2007 and talked about how the economy was in an upward swing and would likely stay that way for years to come. Not so much. I found it humorous in a somewhat macabre way, knowing so much more than the author did about the events that would happen in the 12 years since he wrote the book. (When I got back I found out that he wrote an updated version later on, which I am eager to check out but haven’t had much time for e-books since getting back…maybe I need another backpacking trip) Listening to this book distracted me and before long I found myself at Evolution Lakes. I walked over a ridge and came upon the valley and stood still for a moment.
I had heard that this was one of the most beautiful areas on the trail, and of course I had seen countless pictures of it online, but being there in person with a gust of cold crisp air blowing in my face at the same time as the hot sun was still beating down on my sweaty back and burning the backs of my knees, watching the crystal clear water lap on the lakeshore, I was taken aback by the beauty. Some might even say I was shook. Yeah, I ruined my analogy with genX lingo. Sorry not sorry. But this lake was really really pretty. I don’t have adequate words to describe it. I hiked around about half of it and then sat down to eat lunch. There was one other hiker there enjoying a rest, so I chose a spot that was out of his way and wouldn’t bother him. He left and some point and I didn’t even notice. I stared out at the lake, suddenly aware of how sick I was actually feeling.
I was shaking with chills and I felt like I was about to throw up. I put on my fleece and my puffy jacket and sat in the sun, watching hikers at the other end of the lake laugh and swim in the sunshine. I drank a lot of water and then refilled my water bottles from the lake, carefully treating them with the water drops that I had brought, not wanting to add to how ill I was feeling. I set up my solar panel to charge my InReach and cell phone, drank some water, and took a short nap on the ground below the rock. I woke up feeling a lot better, and feeling way too hot in my layers. I saw that as a good sign so I packed up my jackets and solar panel setup and drank a bit more water and headed back out on the trail.
I felt 100% better than I had an hour before. I put some music on and jammed my way to the base of Muir Pass. I didn’t see anyone else on the trail for quite a while and was actually singing aloud as I hiked along. It was kind of cathartic, and I thought how it was funny to realize that my fear of singing in front of people (even family) was totally gone when the only life I could see for miles was marmots. Of course, I stopped singing when I saw people, but there weren’t many.
I could barely make out the hut up at the top and was so excited to get up there. I had seen pictures of this place all over JMT forums and here it was in front of me! I wondered if the guys had passed me while I was eating or napping and figured they would probably be up at the hut already. I started up the ascent to the pass, still feeling good but also being careful not to push myself too much. I stopped to go to the bathroom at the last place that offered a semi-covered spot (even though it required a little bit of rock scrambling to get to) and who should come up the trail but Ramiro! It is painfully true, you will only be alone on a trail until you stop to go to the bathroom. It’s only funny until it happens to you. Then it’s hilarious. I saw him before he saw me, thankfully and I quickly finished my business and rock-hopped back down to the trail.
He told me that they had been at the meadow until around 3pm (I had passed them at 9am) and that Taylor was still somewhere behind him but he had gotten tired of waiting and had hiked on, which meant that the hut was likely empty, unless other hikers had decided to take a break in it. He let me know that the nearby lake was the last source of water and reminded me to fill my water. I already had but thanked him for letting me know and told him I’d see him at the top! I headed up the trail, determined to get at least a few minutes of alone time up at the top of the pass (as long as nobody else was there).
I got to the top and enjoyed the view, taking a few pictures. I was all alone. I took in the majesty of the peaks surrounding me and walked around the hut. It was such a cool structure! I walked around the Muir Hut and kicked out a bunch of marmot poo. Someone had left the door open and the marmots had really done their worst. Gross! I went back outside after it was all clear and I saw Ramiro below me coming up and sat down on a rock to draw a picture of my view.
Ramiro got to the top a few minutes later and left me alone while I finished my drawing. We talked for a bit but were mostly quiet, enjoying the stillness of the pass. About an hour later Taylor got to the top and the sun began to set. He had left Justin at the meadow and hadn’t seen him since. He figured he’d be up here by now. I wondered where he was and hoped he was okay but assumed he had probably met some new trail friends and decided to camp with them for the night.
I made dinner, pasta with tuna, and drank some tea and got ready for bed. It was only around 7:30 pm, but Ramiro and Taylor always got an early start and their plan for the next day was no different. They were planning on waking up at 4:30. I’m a rather light sleeper so I knew I’d be woken up when they got up and I was excited to be able to get an early start without having to set an alarm. I had almost drifted off to sleep when I heard footsteps approaching and soon, Justin had entered our circle of sleeping bags. I was happy to see him and glad he was okay (even though I knew he would be, but I still cared, so sue me.) He quickly made his own dinner and settled into his own sleeping bag. Soon we were all sleeping, ready to greet the moon in the “morning” before the sun.
Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow!
Stats: Coming Soon! 🙂