John Muir Trail Trip Report

Day 10

14.9 miles

August 29, 2011

Muir Trail Ranch
to Colby Meadow

Day 10 Profile
JMT Day 10
Day 10
Google Maps Terrain

47 for a low last night. 74 for the high today.
Breakfast at MTR was served at 7:30am. I had an omelet, stuffed sausage and hash browns. You can eat at 7am if you just want to grab something like cereal, toast or bagels. They also let you make a sack lunch for the trail, so I made a PBJ (I was worried about the lunchmeat spoiling), and grabbed one of the homemade brownies to add to the lunch bag.

Piute Creek
  Near Piute Creek Junction
  John Muir Wilderness
San Joaquin River
South Fork San Joaquin River

I think this was my favorite day so far. The trail after leaving MTR was an easy uphill grade for about 8 miles. It followed the South Fork of the San Joaquin River, had waterfalls galore, and was a beautiful hike. The trail enters Kings Canyon National Park soon after MTR. I enjoyed a bit of nostalgia entering the Park again. Lots of great memories from my youth in this Park. I met Renee, Justin, Tom, Jerry, Michael and the rest of the MTR crowd at the Goddard Canyon junction. They were enjoying lunch, but since I was eating as I hiked, I kept going. Just past Goddard Canyon, the trail goes up some steep switchbacks to get to Evolution Valley.

Wildflowers at Goddard Creek Junction
Evolution Creek 
  Evolution Creek
Evolution Creek crossing
Evolution Creek crossing

Wow. I had heard about Evolution Valley, and it truly lived up to the hype. Evolution Meadow, McClure Meadow, Colby Meadow, meandering river, deer everywhere, mountains towering above... beyond my ability to adequately describe. Perhaps not very articulate, but... Wow.

Evolution Valley
Beginning of Evolution Valley
Evolution Meadow
  Evolution Meadow

McClure Meadow
McClure Meadow
McClure Meadow 
  Deer in McClure Meadow
Colby Meadow
Colby Meadow

The wade across the Evolution Creek was thigh deep, but an easy wade this time of year. I took a break at the river crossing and took a refreshing swim. Yes! I have been feeling strong today. So nice to finally have my trail legs. There was a sign-in book at the McClure Meadow Ranger Station junction. I saw that Noah and Katie (who I met at VVR) were just ahead of me. I like the idea of a sign in book so if I go missing they at least know I passed this spot! I had originally planned on stopping at McClure Meadow. After looking at the map and the plan for the next couple of days, I revised my plan. I had a 13+ mile day planned for tomorrow, with getting over Muir Pass at the END of the day. If snow was an issue on Muir, I could be caught on the pass really late in the day, and exhausted. I decided to push on today in order to minimize the miles for tomorrow. I made camp near Colby Meadow. I found an absolutely stunning site. Just before Wenk site 7.24, head up the hill to the right for just a spell. Up on the granite slabs. View of both Evolution valley and the Golden Staircase. Open, away from the mosquitoes, only 75 yards and an easy walk to the river, and simply incredible views. One of my favorite campsites of the entire trip.

After making camp and dinner, I lay on the rocks and watched the sunset, and then enjoyed stargazing for a good long while. Time for deep thoughts...

Evolution Lake is up there somewhere
Just past Colby Meadow
  One of the best campsites of the entire trip

GPS said 14.9 miles hiked today. Seems too high. According to the map, it should have been closer to 13. Camped at 9855 ft elevation.
Hiked from 8:20 to 6:00pm. Long day.

Muir Pass tomorrow!!

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