the end of Evolution Valley – Halfway between Muir Pass and Le Conte Ranger Station
10,200 – 10,200 (+ 1,780/ – 1,780) – 11.5 miles * Muir Pass
Free Maps Online – Day 16 – Map 8 and 7
Today we finished at camp quickly and headed up the final set of switchbacks into Evolution Basin and some astounding views.
It was so lovely up there, we stopped next to one lake for more than an hour, soaking up the sun, enjoying the vistas, and relaxing on the grass.
The climb up to Muir Pass felt very long, and we could not figure out where the pass and the hut were located. As our spirits were taking a very small downward turn, we met another awesome trail worker named Diego who stopped to chat with us for ten minutes or so. First, he pointed out where Muir Pass was located and we could see the top of the roof! It was much closer than we imagined. Next we talked about baseball and LA a bit and shared some snacks. We got the impression that Diego was not necessarily supposed to share snacks with us, but we were very grateful that he did – dried sliced Mangos, a few pieces of fresh fruit, pop-tarts, and some trail mix. Yum! Diego also confirmed a rumor we had been hearing all day – Trail Magic at the Le Conte Ranger Station. Diego was coming from there and verified that two former PCT hikers that Joe knew were running a construction project there and were feeding hikers this weekend (it was Saturday, with Father’s Day coming in the morning). We parted company with Diego in much better spirits.
But we still had some descending to do before we could make camp. Descending from Muir was challenging. Like most of the passes, I am sure it was worse in bigger snow years, but for our descent, we were facing challenges brought on by melted snow. As water tends to do, the snow melt formed into small creeks and rivers seeking the path of least resistance downhill, which happened to be the trail we were trying to walk. We spent a few hours carefully negotiating a way around the water and down the mountain near to the path. We made it about 4 miles from the pass before finding a decent spot to camp for the night. Dinner was a short affair and everyone sacked out as quickly as possible. We did not talk about it much, but I believe that we were all thinking and dreaming of what we might find at the Le Conte Ranger Station in the morning!
Stay Tuned: Will there be trail magic?