tiffany's pct journal

California Section H: Highway 120 (Tuolumne Meadows) to Crabtree Meadows (Mount Whitney) - Part II.

Days: 92 - 93.
Dates: October 3 - 4.
Trail mileage: 1783.7 - 1830.8.
Distance: 47.1 miles.

The weather in the Sierra was treating us very well, save for that snowstorm that kicked us off the trail at Tuolumne Meadows. It made for some beautiful views.

view from the trail
Perfect weather

One of the most notorious water crossings in the Sierra is across Evolution Creek. Although it wasn't dangerous when we encountered it, I had heard my feet would be getting wet because there isn't a rock path and it's too wide to just jump over.I wasn't too excited because it was cold.

frost on the trail
Haven't seen this much frost on the trail since ever

And it was definitely cold! I took my shoes and socks off, and I was already feeling cold. Thank goodness the water wasn't high, and only went up to about halfway up my (very short) calves. Still, I was very happy to put my shoes and socks back on afterward.

Evolution Creek
My poor feet

Oh, Blade caught up to us; she had stayed back in Lee Vining to try and avoid skipping the Tuolumne Meadows to Red's Meadow section I had, and was able to do just that. She hikes real fast, so I figured our paths would cross again.

John Muir Wilderness
John Muir Wilderness

I got to camp first, which was right after a confusing but small water crossing. It wasn't easy to cross in the dark because the path over it wasn't overly clear. While I was setting up my tent, I saw a headlamp coming my way. Then it started shaking around everywhere, and I heard grunting. A couple minutes later, Blade walked up and said she had just about made it over the water crossing when she slipped and her whole foot fell into the freezing water.

I had heard previously that mylar (what poptart and protein bar wrappers are often made of) is a great firestarter, and it was a cold night, so we tried to set up a fire. Just FYI: mylar definitely is a great firestarter in a pinch. Blade was able to dry out her socks and shoes next to the fire, and I was happy to not be freezing alone in my tent. Campfires and friends are such a great way to end the day.

Fire, fun, and friends

I was headed over my first big pass the next day: Muir Pass. The climb blew my freaking mind. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trail at that point. It wasn't an easy climb, but the views were beautiful. Rocks everywhere, with some clear, still pools. Expansive views of everything.

view from the trail
Seriously, look at it

It was around there I started seriously considering trying to get a permit to hike the John Muir Trail sometime after my PCT hike, because I wanted to stop and take breaks at all the beautiful spots. It just wasn't feasible for us as PCT thru-hikers because we needed to mae certain miles to beat the Sierra incoming winter.

view from the trail
I mean, just look at it

Blade was at the Muir Hut, maintained by the Sierra Club, at the top of the pass when I got there, and we checked out the hut together. It's used as an emergency shelter for hikers. It had a dutch-style door, and for some reason we could only figure out how to open the top one. The bottom was jammed. We didn't want to break it, so we just sat outside. It was a great lunch spot, and perfect weather for it too.

Muir Hut
Hanging out at Muir Hut

The descent was long and tough. 12 miles of steep downhill, and I was ready for camp already. I came across a funny "Muir Pass Monster" on my way down, which completely made my day.

Muir Pass monster
Oh god no help me it's so terrifying

Yahtzee and I camped at a tiny campsite that night near the beginning of the steep Mather Pass climb. It had an amazing view of the valley. At least, we assumed there was an amazing view; we were night-hiking every night now, so it was dark when we got there.

bottom of Muir Pass
Finally reaching the bottom of Muir Pass

We had more big passes coming up, and I was sure those were going to be spectacular as well.

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