June 12, 2017: Hiked Miles 833.3 to 848.1 (14.8 total)
Even with it being so cold last night, we still managed to get some sleep. I brought a facie with me from home and I think it helped out a lot. I don’t know what a facie is really called but it’s basically just a thing that goes around your neck that you can pull over your nose and mouth. And Colton had his new rain pants to wear for an extra layer and his new pillow that helped him sleep a lot better. But when the alarm went off I didn’t want to move. Just pulling my face out of my sleeping bag was torture. Normally I wake up and feel great once I start moving but today it was not happening. We ate breakfast which normally warms us up and gets us going, but instead it made me feel even more tired. We decided to sleep just a little bit longer but every time I woke up it was still freezing. Finally I woke up at 7:30 and could see a little sun poking through and decided we had to get up. It wasn’t warm but at least I could finally feel my fingers.
Once we started hiking we instantly warmed up, of course. We had a lot of uphill so we would heat up until the wind started whipping and then instantly freeze. We could either wear all our clothes and sweat or take them off and freeze occasionally. We kept them on, because this wind is not very forgiving.
We were excited because we had some fresh footprints to follow. Someone must have passed us when we were snoozing this morning. We made our way up the mountain along an icy, rushing creek.
On and on we hiked until we finally found the owner of the footprints! A solo hiker who had started a few days after us, yet we had never met. We talked to him for a bit, excited for company and then continued on up the hill. Our scenery was…a lot of snow, surprise!
We finally made it to the top of Muir Pass and got to see the infamous Muir Hut.
But sitting on cold stone isn’t exactly the warmest thing to do, especially when your feet are wet, and we had a lot of ground to make up from getting such a late start so we bundled up and took off.
We stepped outside and were blasted by the wind.
We made our way down to a snow-covered frozen lake that we skirted along.
We were following multiple sets of tracks so we were a little surprised when we realized that we were on the wrong side of the river. We decided to keep going since there weren’t any good spots to cross and if all the tracks were on this side, there might be a reason. That worked well until we got to a waterfall and a cliff. We looked around and decided it was too steep to try and go down. A couple hundred feet before the waterfall, the water in the river looked fairly calm and shallow and we saw footprints that looked like it crossed there, so we decided to ford the river.
Our hiking buddy caught up to us and we explained the situation and he went to go check it out for himself. We stripped down and put all our clothes away to get ready to cross the river when he came back and said he thought that going down the side we were on might be a better option since it was probably steep going down on both sides and this way we would avoid two river crossings. We thought about it and decided he was probably right. He went ahead while we put all our clothes back on.
When we made it down to the cliff, he was nowhere to be seen and we couldn’t see any way down. It looked like straight rock walls. We took a better look at the other side where the actual trail would most likely go down and it looked surprisingly dry and not too steep. We decided we should probably just cross the river like our original plan and go where the path goes. There’s a reason the trail is on a certain side of the mountain after all.
So back to the crossing we went. Clothes off. I couldn’t wait around once my pants were off so I made my way in quickly and got across as fast as possible. It was about 30-40 feet across and only went up to about my knees, but even crossing a shallow river with ice cold water will sting like crazy. It doesn’t hurt too bad until you get out. Then you just have to scream to help with the pain.
Colton made it across and we lucked out having a nice dry spot to sit and warm up. We set all our clothes out to dry and ate lunch since it was already 2:30. It was definitely not the worst view for a lunch spot.
We quickly realized we had made the right move by crossing the river as we came along lots of tracks and were able to make it down the mountain without too much trouble. There was a lot of sliding, rock hopping, and stream crossing, but we had a fun time getting down. It was the perfect lesson in “hiking your own hike”.
On the way down we got a look at the other side, where our friend had decided to come down, and it didn’t look pretty. We really hope he made it down ok and that we’ll see him tomorrow and hear how it was.
The terrain eventually flattened out and we started seeing a lot more dirt and exposed rocks. It’s silly how excited a little dirt can make us.
We found a gorgeous, sunny meadow with some dry dirt for our tent, close to the river and set up camp.
We ate and enjoyed our beautiful landscape until the sun went behind the trees and it was too cold to stay outside.
Now we’re curled up in our tent, trying to figure out why the birds are chirping at 8:30 at night, hoping for a warm night and a dry morning. Not too much to ask right?