Campsite – evolution lake
19.3 miles. 3433ft up. 2763ft down
At 6:25am I was woken up by barking and howling. At first I didn’t know where I was. Then I realised I was in a tent at 10,200ft listening to a pack of coyotes. It was incredible. Their sounds filled the whole area. I’ve no idea how close they were, but I was protected by my nylon. They sounded jubilant, maybe they just got breakfast. It was loud, intense and exciting and then as quickly as it began it was over and it was silent again.
It was a warm enough night, despite being so high. And I even started walking without all my layers on. The first 6 miles was an easy downhill and I could see the sun rise and light up the other side of the hill, it was still chilly in the shade and I was looking forward to the sun reaching our side.
The rest of the day was uphill, the long climb up to Muir Pass. Thankfully it’s not a steep climb and the first few miles the trail follows the South Fork San Joaquin river and it is absolutely beautiful. The trail climbs gently up through the canyon and the colours of autumn are all around. The water is low and it looks like you should just be able to grab an inflatable and float down like a lazy river. The thin layer of cloud disappeared and it got really really hot. I had to change back into my shorts.
There are no people about (we didn’t see anyone today) water is abundant, the creeks are a doddle to cross, the colours are incredible, the temperatures are balmy. Why don’t more people do this in October?!
The trail climbed up a series of switchbacks before we started to follow Evolution Creek. The trail crosses the creek and in June it’s a fast flowing, wide and deep crossing. Today, even though I had to take my shoes off as I couldn’t quite make it by hopping across on rocks, it was a quick ankle deep crossing. And the water felt great on my sweaty feet and it gave them a bit of a clean after 6 days!
We continued on through the trees, past Colby meadow and up some more rocky switchbacks until we made it up above the tree line and got to a beautiful, but exposed, campsite next to Evolution lake at 10,870ft. I camped here last year. It is one of the most amazing camp spots on the trail. It’s a crystal clear night so I’m hoping for some good stars. And I’m also hoping it’s not too cold! My dodgy tent is now being held out by rocks, let’s hope there’s no wind!
I was starving for the last couple of hours, so I set up quickly and devoured my delicious dinner of couscous, cheese and Fritos from a ziplock for the fourth night in a row and watched the sunset from my tent.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.