Day 52

Day 52 – mile 833 to 860 – Big Pete Meadow Camp to Juniper Camp:
Guess what, another beautiful day on the trail.  So beautiful, in fact, that on numerous occasions I groaned out loud to myself, “Gahhh, this is so beautiful!”  Every step forward felt like a wasted opportunity to stop and stare at the features around me.
The day started with a big climb to Muir Pass.  Unlike the approaches to other passes, through broad valleys, this one wound its way up the narrow and steeply walled LeConte.  The trail at times took the guise of a river or disappeared altogether under a patch of snow.  A different feel, but the same MO, up up up.
Achieving the pass revealed a landscape so desolate that only three materials were visible, granite, water, and snow.  The glorious monotony was broken only by the wooden door of Muir hut.  Brothers Peak dominated the south end of Wanda Lake.  Whoever’s claimed the first ascent must be proud.
From there the trail dropped passed numerous lakes to the Evolution Valley.  I took a most pleasant lunch/laundry break along a rushing river under the watchful gaze of The Hermit.
Through the valley, fording across the rushing Evolution River in my shoes for traction, down the many switchbacks to the Kings River canyon below.  Along the trail there were countless smooth granite water slides that looked like they’d be a ton of fun, until you died.
Down the Kings River to the San Joaquin River, then up to a flat of Juniper trees.  Camped out beneath the biggest.  Today I passed literally no fewer than 1,000,000 JMTers going south.  It seemed a bit more than usual, but I guess that’s just how it goes in these parts.  At least they smell better than the average PCT hiker.


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