Wednesday September 30, 24.4mi/39.3km
Campsite next to Evolution Creek (847.5/9724ft) to Campsite next to Palisade Creek (823.1/9029ft) (CA)
Today was the last day of September, and it’s definitely getting colder at night, and sleeping bag isn’t as warm after almost 3000 miles of use. We eventually left our camp by 8am, and I quickly got warm on the uphill hike.
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for marmots, since there were so many here in June. I didn’t see any marmots today, but plenty of deer ambling around on the rocks!
We passed by so many lakes in the morning – Evolution Lake, Sapphire Lake, Wanda Lake, and tiny Lake McDermand. This was surprising to me, since I didn’t remember seeing that many when I passed thru here in June. After looking back at my journal, I realized I had hiked thru here in a dense fog, and cold rainy weather, so I was only paying attention to the trail under my feet.
Muir hut was a beautiful old stone building, atop 11,900ft Muir Pass. We took an early lunch inside to escape the incessant winds that sweep thru this area.
The interior had a cool circular ceiling, the stonework was impressive.
We ate lunch in the cold, damp (but windless!) building, and I finished my 2nd block of cheese. Tomorrow I’ll start on my last block. We hiked downhill for a couple of hours, and the sun came out and it was much warmer. I even zipped my pants into shorts!
Of course, we had to get photos of the classic “rock monster”. It’s a large boulder with strategically placed small stones to resemble eyes and teeth.
For some reason, I neglected to take any more photos all afternoon. We followed the valley along the Middle Fork Kings River, and it was quite beautiful with many small waterfalls sliding down over polished granite. The last part of the day we slowly climbed up the Palisade Creek valley, it was quite an easy climb of only 1000ft in 4 miles. We setup camp before sunset, which I thought was pretty impressive given our 24+ mile day.
As we were making dinner in the fading sunlight, Bonus Miles saw a headlamp on the mountain ridge to the east. I didn’t see it at first, but as it came closer, we all could see the headlamp coming toward us down the hill. It wasn’t a bear, but a Tiger! A SOBO hiker named Tiger, who is “thru-climbing” the PCT, hitting many high peaks along the trail in Washington, Oregon, and here in the Sierras. We fed him dinner, and then he kept hiking into the night, since he needs to get to the post office in town tomorrow. With the late night in camp tonight, and tomorrow’s planned mileage/elevation, I’m guessing I will be very tired tomorrow night!