6.16.18. 17 miles.
I woke up this morning at 3:30 to get hiking by 4:30 to tackle Muir. We had 10 miles to go to get to the top so we needed the super early start to prevent postholing as much as possible, since we heard Muir was the worst for that. Despite waking up so early, the hike was very gorgeous this morning, lots of meadows and forest. We saw so many deer out for their breakfast - they’re so cute! The climbing wasn’t too bad until we hit some gnarly switchbacks with huge granite steps and I just hit a wall. I shoved some food & water down my throat and kept going up the mountain. I knew we were on a time limit.
Honestly, the climb wasn’t too bad in retrospect. We heard there was “solid snow for 2 miles” before the top, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. There were snow patches starting about 1.5 miles from the top, and quite a bit of real trail, and a solid 1 mile of snow. The last snowfield to the top was pretty strenuous, and I could feel the snow getting slushier by the minute. I finally got to the top at 10:30 am, and ate a ton of snacks on the steps of the Muir Shelter, an inclement weather shelter built by the Sierra Club in honor of John Muir. It was pretty cool being on the top of that pass. I wish I got some better pictures of the hut, but it’s kinda hard to ask sitting, tired, hungry hikers to move out of the way for your photo.
As with the ascent, the descent was nowhere near as difficult as cited. Instead of the 4 solid miles of snow we were promised, we probably only walked on 1-1.5 miles and I had minimal postholing as I followed previous, pretty solid tracks. Hot Mess is also a very talented cross-country hiker and has a penchant for finding a way to scramble/ rock hop/ cross-country to dry trail to avoid snow, so that worked out well.
We walked along the gorgeous Wanda Lake for a while, taking so many photos, and ended up lunching near Sapphire Lake/ Evolution creek. Once we sat down for lunch, all of my stress about the passes/ setting up well for passes/ making miles dissipated. Muir was the last “hard” pass in terms of length, snow, postholing, etc. so it felt good to get the hard stuff behind us and go back to doing 15 miles/day and really enjoy our time in the Sierra.
To reward ourselves, we only hiked another 3 miles after lunch, and we totally took our time, “sauntering”, as John Muir would say (how apropos for the day), enjoying the beautiful views. We have a lovely camp spot overlooking the valley we’re about to hike into tomorrow.
I’m really looking forward to tomorrow bc we’re going into the Evolution Valley which is supposed to be gorgeous, and we’re not doing a pass tomorrow! Yippee!
Me, Hot Mess, and Butters were also talking about doing a double zero in Mammoth since we’re going to skip VVR, and I can’t wait, because we’re going to be there on my birthday! Yay! I’m already thinking of how I’m going to treat myself :) #treatyoself