We needed a big day to have a chance at skipping Vermillion Valley Resort and we got it! The day got off to a slow start as we made our way to Muir Pass. The passes before this one didn’t have much snow on the south faces, with the exception of Forester, but Muir had probably 2 miles of snow fields before reaching the pass. We slogged our way to the top and had a nice snack at the John Muir hut that sits at the pass, we even made a marmot friend that was eating from his stash and showed some interest in Pie’s snacks. After checking out the hut, eating, and resting a bit we shoved off to trudge through another 2 or 3 miles of snow to get past a few lakes and streams and eventually down to Evolution Creek and then Evolution Lake. We reached Evolution Lake just before 1:30pm and decided we needed lunch and to dry out our everything.
After an hour of lunch and napping we pushed on again, finally on dry trail. Our pace definitely quickened after lunch as the elevation began to drop and the trail much smoother and dryer than the morning’s terrain. We only slowed to admire a family of deer that were not more than 20 feet from us in McClure Meadow and then took a break after crossing Evolution Creek. We had to wade across the creek so we took a few minutes to dry our feet out before heading off again.
From the creek crossing we said we would go to the steel bridge that crosses the San Juaquin River and has a campsite nearby and see how we felt. When we arrived at the bridge we decided the idea of a 20+ mile day in the Sierras sounded pretty awesome so we pushed on a bit further. Finally, we arrived at mile 855.5 just before 8pm, giving us 20.5 miles for the day that included a significant pass as well.
All that said, I am exhausted and it’s way past my hiker bedtime. Godspeed.