Evolution lake – Glacier Creek
21 miles. 2497ft up. 4433ft down.
It was surprisingly warm considering how high we were and how clear the sky was. I was having trouble sleeping and I soon realised that I had too many layers on. I woke about midnight and tried to get a photo of the stars.
The stars were insane. So many of them and a thick band where the Milky Way was. The photos don’t do it justice. It was also completely silent. Completely still, not a breath of wind. It was quite incredible. Once I had delayered I managed to get some sleep. It tends to get cold around 4 in the morning and I could feel my toes getting a bit cold.
At 6:30 I packed up quickly, balled my hands into fists and set off for the 6 mile climb up to Muir Pass. The sun was gradually coming up and I kept focused on walking towards it.
The climb was gentle and incredibly beautiful. Once in the sun it really warmed up and the sky was absolutely clear. Not a wisp of cloud to be seen. Every so often I would just stop and listen. There is absolutely no sound. All I can hear are my footsteps and my own breathing.
It is so nice to walk up here with no snow on the ground. I hop over the rocks that allow you across the river without getting your feet wet when it’s flowing. I am dumbstruck by the beauty of Wanda lake. As you walk along the edge the water is crystal clear and clean. The reds and oranges are so vivid.
The trail is carefully maintained with rocky steps and built up areas and it snakes through the boulders up to the hut, which you can see for a while, a little point in the distance. As I’m climbing up I think I can hear voices, or it might just be me going mad.
When I reach the top there are a couple of people there. The girl is sat on the step outside the hut. I say hi but I don’t get any response. I approach the door and she asks if she’s in my way. Well, yes, but I’ll find a way around you. I dump my bag in the hut and think about staying in there but it’s too nice a day to not be outside. So I go and sit with her. We start to chat and she isn’t as hostile as she first seems. Then the most amazing thing happened. She offered me food. ‘Would you like a twix bar?’ She said. ‘If you’re sure you can spare it’ I replied. But in my head I was saying ‘fuck yeah!! A twix!! Give me that right now, I’m starving! Oh yeah! This is the greatest day ever!!’
They carry on, they were only out overnight, and I wait for Catwater. We sit outside the hut for a while. It is just so beautiful. So peaceful. So incredible.
I admire the structure of the hut again and we can’t dilly dally any longer, we have a long 11 miles of downhill. The first bit of downhill isn’t easy, it’s super rocky and steep, but considering the trail was covered in snow last time and we were hopping from rock island to rock island, this is so much easier! A couple of miles down we stop for water and snacks and I put on my shorts. It’s getting very warm.
The trail continues to be beautiful and amazing and the views are just breathtaking. But constant downhill gets very tiring and I find myself just blazing through the 8 miles, getting quicker as we go back below the tree line, and the trail becomes a little less rocky. Surrounded on both sides byhuge cliffs the sun starts to go behind them and it gets chilly and dark. That’s not right, it’s only 3 o’clock!
We want to do 4 more miles and make a start on the long ascent to Mather Pass. It’s 4:15 so we should have plenty of time before it gets dark. The trail is illuminated by the yellows and oranges of the trees as the leaves sparkle in the late sunshine. As I’m strolling along I see a movement on the trail up ahead. It’s a Coyote! Finally some real wildlife. The only other thing I had seen today was a Grouse.
It was like a cross between a fox and a dog. It went off into the trees, watching me as I watched it. I have a couple of terrible photos. Further up the trail I could see it’s tracks.
We made it to the campsite at 6pm. Nearly 2000ft lower than last night at 8900ft I hope it’s going to be warm. We are right next to a fast flowing creek, a great water source and hopefully not too much condensation.
I feel good today. I’m glad we made it 21 miles. I spent most of my day lost in a daydream about a person who barely knows I exist! The most random songs kept popping into my head, none of which I can remember now, other than a couple of songs from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
I ache this evening. My hips are sore and my shoulders ache, I think that’s from spending so much time lying down, as it gets dark so early I’m lying on this inflatable thing for 11-12 hours! I’m tucked up in my bag by 7:30, but I’m going to put off going for a wee until 9pm, then hopefully I won’t wake up with a bladder that’s about to burst.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.