Monday, June 9, 2014

Day 59 - cs819 to wacs835

A day without a pass and without any snow. What a treat!
The distance between Mather Pass and Muir Pass is 21 miles, so most normal hikers don't try to do them day after day, especially when it's not a good idea to do Muir after the snow melts, since the north side is about 5 miles of gradual ascent in the snow.
So, like everyone else, we hiked down from our campsite to the bottom of the valley, and then hiked back up towards Muir, stopping just before the snow starts.
The hike down was very nice. We hiked for a long time down towards a very nice lake, which reflected the mountains around it. After we got below the lake, and the big waterfall it spills into, we switch backed down a rather steep section of the trail.
I met Tent Monster hiking back up without his pack. Apparently he forgot his earphones up where he camped last night, and was heading up to get them. I would never get back that far for something like earphones...
The way down was along the Palisade Creek, and we crossed several smaller creeks spilling into it. No wet shoes today - there was always a way to cross while staying dry.
We stopped for lunch down at the lowest spot, before starting our 2500 feet climb.
Most of the climb up wasn't hard. It was very gradual and the views were nice. The stream we were climbing along kept changing from raging white water, to show rolling water in a big wet meadow.
At the mid point of the climb we crossed an iron bridge over some gushing waters. Idan said this is the bridge in some famous jmt photo. We had a nice break there, and I washed my feet in the ice cold water.
From there we had some more walking, with the majority of climbing at the last mile or so. We crossed some more creeks, still keeping dry, and started climbing that last section.
We were sure we were gone climbing, getting up to some flat meadow near the trail, and were very sad to learn that Idan is not waiting there with his tent set up. Another short climb finally got us to the right place, where we joined him and set up our camp.
Many hikers passed us earlier, all planning to camp even higher than the last campsite that appears on Halfmile's app. Some even passed here after we were already camped, and headed on for a few more miles today.
Yair had a small incident at dinner - he was planning to eat the stroganoff Knorr meal, when we saw it contains beef fat. He made ramen noodles instead, and was planning on improvising some meal for the last night (since we all carry the exact number of meals we'd need for each section). But at the end he was able to trade it for a vegetarian meal with another hiker that is staying here. That's some good luck.
And just to top off the evening, my tent's zippers are almost all not working well again. After a long and painstaking struggle, I managed to use the top zipper to close the bug net, so I am sage inside the tent, but I'm definitely not going out during the night.