Descending into Evolution Valley, Stacey and I were rewarded by vast green meadows with emerging wildflowers dotting the ever-changing landscape.
Most of the hikers that we have seen in this remote section are of Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hikers hiking from Mexico to Canada. On a few occasions we ran into John Muir Trail Adventurers. These are often two different breeds of hikers. The size of the pack and its weight are usually key indicators in distinguishing the two. The JMT'ers also looked more worn and torn. The above photo, however, is of a durable thru-hiker named Day Late. I tried to have him change his name to On Time, but it was to no avail. After Sonora Pass we didn't see Day Late again till Oregon. But from there, we saw him regularly all the way to the border of Canada. One never knows if you will ever see a hiker you coincide with again.
Evolution Creek was the first big water crossing that most hikers talked about. Everyone seems to take a slightly different route across this watery obstacle. One simply doesn't walk straight across the water. One zigs and zags through the water at its lowest points and where the current may be at its slowest.
From evolution creek we followed the San Joaquin River to where one could resupply at Muir Trail Ranch for a package holding and mule transportation fee of $50. However, we carried enough food to take us to Red's Meadows, by-passing the popular Vermilion Valley Resort on Lake Edison. For a fee, one could be ferried from the trail to the resort by boat.
The Salley Keyes Lakes were bustling with fish. A few hikers did bring light weight fishing poles to supplement their meals.
Once we reached Selden Pass, there was much less snow to traverse than in the previous passes. In this case, we only had to walk a few miles in the shrinking snow pack. Above is a late afternoon photo of the Marie Lakes.
Around midnight a thunderstorm came floating through with its thunder and lightening exploding directly above us. If you have never heard thunder exploding directly above your head, you are certainly missing out on some very extreme energy exchange. The sensations are intense and the impact brings overwhelming excitement. The following day we crossed Bear Creek, which was the most difficult of all the water crossings in the Sierra's at this time of the year. I actually crossed the creek at the trail crossing point. This was almost a mistake where the water almost swept me off of my feet. I had to lean into the current and place one of my arms down in the water to hold my position. Once across I scouted down stream for a better place for Stacey to cross where the water was diverted by the existance of an isolated island.
Coming across some day and section hikers near Lake Edison, we passed on our advice as to where to cross Bear Creek as we continued our journey back up into the High Country. The trail is often a telegraph of information of what is to come and who we are expected to see over the next few hours or days to come.
Saying goodbye to another potentially dangerous ford,
(this is according to the guide book)
we made our way to Silver Pass.
I always found it fun playing, now you see the trail and now you don't. It certainly does sharpen one's senses as to where one is in position to their landscape.
We were no longer sure who was ahead of us and whether they got off at Vermilion Valley Resort to resupply. The fresh tracks that hikers make in the snow can melt very quickly within a few hours time.
However, at the top of Silver Pass we came across a section hiker named Lone Wolf Expedition. He was handing out two dollar bills to all the thru hikers he met coming in the opposite direction to him while he hiked the John Muir Trail. He displayed to us a list of all the hikers he saw along his own personal and specialized journey. Well, his unique generosity will always be remembered where someone in the middle of a vast wilderness is rewarding you with a bit of their own energy.