5th September 2019
Evolution lake – senger creek
17.1 + 2.5 = 19.6 miles
Total miles: 149.9


Well I don’t think it rained again in the night. After all the drama of the storm I slept surprisingly well and even had to be woken by my alarm. 

We have been aiming for 7am departure every morning but we leave more like 7:15 / 7:20 which is fine. We had a big downhill today to get to Muir Trail Ranch where we would resupply out of hiker boxes. This is a common stop for JMTers and they famously leave lots of food, as by the time they reach here they realise they don’t need all that food and leave it in buckets. I didn’t send a resupply here because it’s expensive. You have to buy a bucket, fill it with food and it gets delivered by mule which isn’t cheap and then there’s a $30 holding fee, I think. 

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My new best friend

Anyway. The day started off clear but the clouds gathered and it became a bit rainy and pretty much stayed that way for the 13 miles to the junction of MTR. We were just going downhill all morning, and our waterproofs were on and off so many times and my umbrella was up and down, up and down. For the first few days I was resenting carrying the umbrella. It’s summer, it’s boiling hot, why am I carrying this stupid umbrella?? Today I was so grateful for it, and a lot of soggy southbounders were envious of it! 

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We saw so many people in the morning, I think we had seen about 48 hikers pass us before noon.

We stopped infrequently and briefly for snacks and a little rest, mostly where we could find somewhere under the shelter of a tree. Halfway through the morning we had to cross evolution creek, it was quite fast flowing but didn’t come any higher than my knees. We waded straight through in our shoes. We followed the creek down where there are some cool waterfalls and water slides.

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Evolution Creek

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Catwater wasn’t really feeling it today I don’t think. She was the cranky Catwater that I know and love. Grumpy about other hikers, grumpy about the downhill, grumpy about having to take her waterproofs on and off! Haha!

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We trudged on and made it to the junction to MTR. The side trail is about a mile and a half long, a little bit up and down and then some steep switchbacks to the ranch. 

We scoured over the buckets. Not a lot of choice! This was going to be a tough resupply. But I had a secret weapon up my sleeve. Remember Scott and Craig, the guys I climbed Whitney with, well Scott’s girlfriend was supposed to be hiking with them but wasn’t able to go so they had extra resupply in their bucket at MTR. They didn’t go out over Kearsarge Pass so they would have been here a few days earlier. They said they would put my name on the bucket and leave their leftover resupply for me. Awesome right? 

So I went up to the lady who was the keeper of the bucket and I had my whole story prepared. I had only gotten about 5 words in and she asked if I was Alex….yes she had the bucket for me! She said she remembered because it’s really unusual for people to do that. We got so lucky. You don’t ask, you don’t get!

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Catwater and I were able to share out the stuff in the bucket and I got a load of great snacks and as a bonus, a Mountain House meal. Anything we didn’t want (like soap and teabags) we gave to other hikers there. It was all snapped up. 

There was a slightly weird vibe there. A couple who said they were hiking the PCT were grabbing all the food. They had a full bucket each and a full carrier bag. Way more food than they could possibly fit into a bear canister. They said their plan was to go straight through to walker pass (sobo) that’s 207 miles away. They just kept taking food. It was a bit fishy to us. And there were a couple of other odd moments so we packed up our stuff quickly, grabbed some spring water and left. There were also a bajillion wasps there. 

The mile side trail back to the JMT was brutally steep and now the sun had come out and it was roasting. 

We weren’t sure what our plan was so we took a much needed rest at the junction and tried to figure it out. We could either camp just on tenth of a mile up the trail, and we were tired and ready to camp, but it was only 3:30pm. Although camping early sounded nice I knew we would be bored. 

Deep down Catwater knew this but at the same time really didn’t want to continue because the next camp spot was 2.8 miles uphill. We had a decision to make. Keep our water we had just hauled up the MTR side trail, or pour the water out and continue on with a slightly lighter pack and pick up water 2.1 miles up the trail. So once we poured out our water there was no turning back. 

Catwater was a bit grumpy but I knew she would think we had done the right thing and would be thankful for it when we arrived at camp and we had got 1500ft of climbing done so we didn’t have to do it tomorrow. 

The trail was steep and now we were climbing the sun came out and was hot hot hot. I was sweating profusely. It also sprinkled with rain on and off, while the sun was still shining, so it was too hot to put waterproofs on. In the end the rain didn’t come to much and we got wet by sweating our way uphill instead. 

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When we got to the creek we saw some nice tent spots and decided to call it a day there instead of carrying water another 0.7 uphill to a dry campsite. 

Being next to water it was mosquito hell so the tents went up super quick, we got more water than necessary so we would have to get out our tents again once we were in them. I flung all my stuff inside and then it was time to relax. After all that it was still only 5:20pm. We have been making a habit of waiting for 6pm to eat dinner so we don’t eat too early and get hungry in the night. Tonight was no exception, I boiled water on the dot of 6, and because of the bugs we have developed a bad habit of cooking in our tents. 

I assessed the food I had got. Very different to my normal resupply but good. More fruit and more meaty protein. And peanut butter and bars. A lot les sugar so we’ll see how I get on with that! We are going to try and get to VVR tomorrow now instead of the next day so I have too much food, but it just means that I don’t have to buy so much at VVR which is expensive! 

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I had my chicken and rice mountain house for dinner. I didn’t realise it was a big 3 serving one and I was a bit worried I wasn’t going to manage the whole thing. But in the end I ate it easily. It was what I had been craving – the most bland mountain house meal. Rice with basically an oily chicken stock and some token bits of chicken. Bland, salty, oily and easy to swallow without chewing. Nothing fancy, just the way a backpacking meal should be!! I hadn’t eaten much today so it was a welcome treat. 

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It made me chuckle because I have discussed before taking food from strangers. Some of my friends dont like taking food from those tasting trays they hand out in the street sometimes, but I had just gone to a random place in the woods, opened a bucket, found a ziplock bag with some cookies in and ate them. Pretty sure they were mini Chips Ahoy but how long they had been there, who had put them there or handled them, I have no idea! Now they are in my belly. 

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My clothes and feet are quite repulsive, when we take our shoes off at the end of each day we make ourselves feel sick. Today was no exception, we had just about managed to walk our shoes and socks dry after the river crossing, but our actual feet were white and wrinkled still. 

The skin on my feet is still very sore but no blisters appeared yet thankfully. 

 

 

 

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