Total mileage: 845.5
Today’s mileage: 19.5
Muir Pass elevation: 11,955 ft
We woke up to deer in our campsite.
We lost the trail several times through here. There were numerous water crossings where we hopped from stone to stone. Sometimes you’d cross, only to find the way did not continue on the far side. It’s interesting how quickly you adapt to this process. Initially, you’re careful, timid; you stand at the water’s edge, plotting your course. But with every day we’re in the High Sierras, the faster we get at negotiating these crossings. A typical day may require twenty crossings, and now it feels like our pace doesn’t slow at all during these moments.
Very long day. Muir Pass took forever to summit. 4,000 ft ascent. It felt like there were 4 false summits. Every time you thought surely we’ll see the infamous hut, only to be denied and required to keep pushing higher.
We didn’t stay long at the hut. There was a informal trail register (journal) that someone had recently left in the hut, and, based on the entries, it encouraged us to see that several friends were likely only hours ahead.
(below) Howly, and not another hiker as far as the eye can see.
Mosquitoes are here in full force now. Set up tent and jumped in to enjoy a stoveless meal, just to avoid them.
The descent from Muir felt different than the other passes. Wide open nothingness, like the surface of the Moon. And that pressing feeling that we still had to make more miles. Howly in particular wanted to get below 10,000 feet, where fires are again legal.
We are pitched tonight in a flat spot, with several section hikers and a beautiful view. They are excited for the sunset. I realized we have seen a surprisingly few number of sunsets on the trail. It seems the moment is often eclipsed by trees or ridges, or perhaps we are still busy hiking and aren’t able to appreciate it as much as if we had already made camp and were leisurely watching for it. Below, you can see Howly’s blue tent in the far bottom-left and mine in the far-right.
Enjoy this portrait of a man looking worse for wear. 🙂