PCT Day 18: Muir Mirror on the wall

Day 18 6-5-2015   Sleep 2300-330
Miles 809.2 – 852.2

Voted prettiest morning
            I shook the snow off the lower half of my bivy.  Seems as those we got a little dusting overnight.  The moonlight reflects off of everything and creates an ethereal glow to the still dark morning.  Working my way up the trail, I am overwhelmed by the beauty.  I forget how beautiful a fresh coat of snow is in the early morning.  Especially, when the landscape still has it’s colors and is not already all white.  As I climb up along the South fork of the Kings river, I run into quite a few creek crossings.  Well it was below freezing and the normal hopping stones for crossing the creeks carried a nice gloss.  So shinny pretty, slippery, shittay.  No worries, I am a physics genius.  If I only step vertically and do not put any horizontal pressure, I won’t slip.  Well here we go. One rock.  Two rock. And ankle deep in icy water. One rock. Two icy water.  Across, I walk fast to keep the blood flowing and my feet from freezing.  Okay, I can be better.  I almost had it.  Next creek.  One rock, two SHIT. Dammit.  This time I just trudged the rest of the way across the creek as I was already wet.  Next creek.  I ain’t playing your bullshit games, frozen rocks!  I just trudge across.  And so it goes a few more times.  I was done with the creek crossings but quite cold.  I moved fast to stay warm, but desperately wanted to stop and dry my feet off. 
Beauty is in the freezing cold water
The sun was rising all beautifully again, but I didn’t hesitate a second to enjoy.  I just moved quickly and figured the sooner over the pass, the sooner down, the sooner I can stop and dry my feet in the sun.  So hustle on.  At one point, I went to adjust my layers and unzipped my rain jacket.  As I went to zip it up again, something didn’t go right.  Looking down the teeth were all out of sorts.  I thought I could just back the train up slowly and start over.  And so I did.  And the zipper fell off.  Gosh darn it.  So as I am walking up hill I take the extra shoe lace that I used to fix my phone carrier off.  And now am “sowing” my jacket shut.  By the time I reach the top of Mather pass I have a brand new pull over rain jacket.  Luck is going my way.  The snow of the down hill is ice hard and slippy as all hell.  But once again, I traverse over a few hundred feet and spy a line.   This one a little rocky, but I want the rocks as chances to stop or slow down if I get going to fast.  Sure enough, I lift the brakes and almost instantly accelerate to a faster than desired pace.  I try to dig in, to steer to a rock or slow down, with almost no affect.  I am at the mercy of the hill now.   I see a rock ahead and do what I can to aim for it.  I brace for impact and slam.  My legs took most of it but my butt did tap the rock.  Enough to bruise it and it would probably be felt the next couple of days if I sat on it.  But I was moving, too busy, and hurting else where;  I would forget about it and it would never bug me. 
It seems as though I have come a long way
I highly enjoyed the Palisade basin
I quickly got off the remaining snow and ran for about thirty minutes.  The sun was really warm now and I found a nice south tilted rock.  I took off my shoes and dried my feet.  I took off my warm clothes as now I was baking in the direct sun.  My feet were already dry.  I packed up and took off on yet again another amazing descent along a creek.  This one had quite the nice cascade to it.  I had already forgotten about the ripped jacket and the frozen feet.  Life is good, I thought.  I reached the fork in the river at the bottom and headed up the other side, the middle fork of the Kings river.  I had an excited feeling.  This was the last major high pass and it is the pass that is named after a pretty famous guy, Muir Pass.  There were some dark clouds approaching and once again, I found myself looking around for places to seek respite.  Crack.  It started snowing/hailing with out warning.  It wasn’t full on and intense, but enough where I didn’t want to be standing out in it.  I dove under a rock that I thought would do the job.  But apparently, I am bigger than I think.  It did the job, with a little leak.  But I was quite squeezed in and one had one position to be in.  I took my uncomfortable rest and knew again it would be a race up and over the pass.  Finally, it let up snowing and I began up.
11,6 Just chillin', well freezing!

I thought it was much shorter than it ended up being.  The trail climbed up into a big basin and traveled flat for awhile.  This was the most snow of any pass, and therefore I was following in others foot holes.  There were tracks this way and that.  I wasn’t getting lost, as I could see where I had to go; but frustrating trying to figure out, which track is the direct route and which is the scenic one.  My feet were getting cold spending all this time in the snow.  I knew I had to move and move fast.  If there is this much snow here, the other side could have even more.  I had about an hour and a half of sunshine left and it wasn’t too cloudy.  However, the clouds in the sky were blocking the sun for me.  Some flurries began to fly as I neared the top.  I reached the top and could see, there wasn’t more snow, there was more water.  This side’s snow was melting and making the ground into one big run off.  I knew I must hurry now, as my feet would be wet for awhile and if the sun went down, I might not be able to get them dry.  So without any regard for my body, I start hammering away.  The snow was soft and I would punch through a foot to two feet down, often times into icy cold melt water.  I was running on pure adrenaline.  I didn’t know where the exact trail was, nor did I care.  I knew it passed by the left side of the lake and that was where I was headed.  Eventually down far enough, I could make out tracks in the snow and knew I was getting close to the trail, the end of snow and relief…so I thought.  I reached the dirt, yes.  Ah but here comes the wind.  I just kept running to stay warm.  The sun had set and the view around Evolution Lake was gorgeous.  I felt good and needed to get warm so I just ran as fast as I could.  About an hour and a half later I reached the Evolution creek ford.  My feet were already wet so I just jumped right in.   The water seemed swift but I worked the channels and never got over my knee.  Across, I kept moving to keep my blood circulating, but I knew I had to make a fire to get my feet dry.  It was spitting mist on me, but I knew everything was so dry, a fire would easily start.  I found my spot and made a fire.  Taking my shoes off and roasting my socks like marshmallows.  I also roasted my feet.  After ten minutes I had reached a good level of dryness and the skin of my feet returning to hard.  I put out the fire and carried on.  I wanted more miles to get closer to Reds Meadow, my next resupply.  I figured the closer I was, the more it would motivate me to hustle there tomorrow.  But the surge of adrenaline coming down from Muir pass had me gassed.  I was moving really slow and thought it better to rest.  I bivy’d up with the notion I would just get up early and hustle.
Evolution Lake

Couldn't decide which I liked better

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