Muir Trail Ranch is the the midpoint of the trail. For southbound hikers, it's the last resupply. When we left Muir Ranch, we were loaded down with an 11-day supply of food. We took our time and got used to our heavier packs. The last mile went up steeply - a struggle, although the views made up for it. We set up camp right after crossing Evolution Creek, behind a big log beside the trail. We were too tired to care. Jerry said it was his hardest day. In the morning, I climbed the rocks behind our camp. There's a beautiful plateau up there, lots of great camp sites, big enough for a Sierrapalooza group.
Evolution Valley, Evolution Lake, Sapphire Lake, Wanda Lake. So beautiful. When we woke up at Sapphire Lake, we were in the clouds.
The final tent pole misadventure. The tent pole broke again after we set up the tent at Sapphire Lake. We couldn't salvage it, so we removed it and used trekking poles to prop the sides of the tent up and out.
Thunderstorms!!! Four thunderstorms rolled through, one after the other, the morning we woke up at Sapphire Lake. The wind almost laid the tent flat. We braced ourselves back to back in the tent, and each supported a trekking pole in its new role as tent pole. It took all my strength to keep my pole upright. The thunder and lightening were virtually simultaneous as each storm swept over us.
Rain misadventure. The weather cleared long enough for us to get to Muir Hut, then started again and continued all day and into the night. We had intended to stop at Big Pete Meadow, but every tent site was a pond. We kept going until we found a hillock with grasses. It was still raining, and we had a lot of damp gear despite using our pack covers. What to do? Since our first ascent of Whitney when a hiker in trouble needed an emergency blanket and mine was in the car at Whitney Portal, I have carried an emergency blanket in my first aid kit. We spread it out covering the bottom of the tent. Wet stuff went under it, dry stuff on top. That night, we shared our one dry sleeping bag. Cozy and cooperative. 'Honey, let's turn over now, okay?'
No photos of this camp. I didn't even look at the camera until the next day. I thought it might have gotten wet, which can be death to a camera, but it was fine. Thoughts at the end of the day: "Wish we had more brandy." "Looking forward to drying things out. Hope there is no more wind. (Did I mean rain and write wind?)"
Folks we met in this section. Patt, one of the Muir Ranch ladies, who knew and liked Wind Walker's and Snow Nymph's photography. Cool. An 8th grade science teacher/summer horse packer out of Florence Lake - good stories about LA Power and Light, tree blazes, and a long-ago plan for Piute Lake and other lakes.