JMT – Day 12 – Piutte Pass Junction to Evolution Lake
August 14, 2014
If the right opportunity presents itself, I can scream my lungs out. Right opportunity such as a snake curled on the side of the trail waiting for me to get little too close for comfort before it moves and makes itself obvious. In situation like this I have no problem producing a long high pitched sound, or in order words scream like a girl. And jump at least two feet, weighted by a 40 lb pack or not.
For the next half hour or so I let Dave go ahead of me hoping his feet would produce stronger vibration and chase any legless creatures out of my way. I’m not sure whether the strategy is working or if there are simply no more snakes nearby, either way my paranoia eventually calms and I can once again enjoy the walk. There is lots to enjoy today including the peacefully bubbling creek along which we stroll and the doe with a fawn who accompany us for almost half a mile.
After couple of hours of smooth downhill cruising the trail sends us on a mile long climb. We can hear the rumble of Evolution Creek and occasionally we are allowed a peek at the cascades that produce the sound. With swift rapids within eye sight crossing Evolution Creek can be a nerve wracking experience. Today; however the water level is low and we can wade through it safely.
At McClure Meadow the forest opens to reveal the beauty of the tranquil valley. It would be an amazing place to camp. If we were on our schedule this is exactly where we would be pitching our tent right now; but the last couple of days put us ahead and now we have to decide whether we want to call it a short day or continue further. We only hiked seven miles and we are not ready to stop yet so after a brief visit at the ranger station we are on move again.
There are two things we learned at the ranger station. The first one is that camping is allowed at Evolution Lake. The second one is that the wild currents we frequently saw ripening along the trail are edible. The second fact quickly dampers our progress as from now on I make compulsory stops at every bush we see along the trail.
Evolution Lake guarded by Darwin, Fiske, Haeckel, Huxley, Spencer and Wallace – peaks named after evolutionary biology early proponents – immediately feels like home. The forests we walked through to reach this place were nice and unique in their own way but I have always been drawn to the world of rocks. It’s my personal wonderland that I feel a childlike desire to explore and capture in photographs and I can’t resist to capture the first few frames before I even put my pack down. One can never have enough pics of granite.
Not long after our camp is set, Sarah and Michelle stroll to the lake. Most of the sites are taken, except for a sandy slab close to ours and though we become camping neighbors for the second consecutive night. This gives us an opportunity to talk photography, farming, writing, and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, feat both Sarah and Michelle endured. Time flies when conversation flows as smoothly as this one and before we know it, the sunset sneaks upon us and then the darkness. It should be a night of high meteorite activity and the open sky above Evolution Lake far away from civilization should be the prime viewing area so we set the alarm for later in the night. We have no luck to see a spectacular meteorite show but the sky is clear and full of stars and it is a very rewarding view nonetheless.
Miles today: 12.4
Cumulative miles hiked: 123 Miles left: 88
Tomorrow Muir Pass awaits us. Will we conquer it? Or will it conquer us?