Another beautiful day. Started from Wanda Lake up to John Muir Pass. A steady but rocky ascent to the hut, where we ate snacks and admired the stonework of the hut. The pass is at 11,955′, the highest I’ve ever been, I think.
While we were resting and eating our snack, a ranger who looked like a superhero showed up. She had a slim waist and shapely legs with swelling calves, braids, a lovely face and broad shoulders. Maybe it’s being up here that does it. Maybe I’ll look like a superhero when we finish this hike… She was stationed for the summer at LeConte, but was on her way to McClure Meadow for some reason or other. Said to check out the yellow-legged mountain frogs in the lakes on the way south. They’re endangered, but plentiful in a few lakes near here.
Extremely slow and slate-y descent. We had to watch every step more carefully than ever. Very beautiful in the Eastern Sierra rubbly way. Watched a dipper along the headwaters of the Kings River. We have left the San Joaquin watershed behind, after walking through it for the last 85 miles.
10 miles later we got to Grouse Meadow, at 8,200′, where we are now. The ranger had suggested that we stop there rather than at LeConte or a little farther down the trail, because to her eyes it’s much more lovely. And it is gorgeous! I’m fried. Tomorrow will be a long uphill, up the dreaded Golden Staircase. I need to rinse out clothes, but it seems too late to get them dry by morning. Guess we’ll have to be dirty. At least, I can rinse the dust off of my feet and legs with my pack towel and water from my water bottle.
This is the day things start to break. I can feel that my shoes are more slippery. Much tread is gone. Betty’s tent needs a small but important repair: one of the cups that the pole goes through has a hole in it. The thick foam pad at the back of my pack has started to bend, creating an annoying bump against my back. So I pulled it out and cut it off, leaving only the lowest part along my hips. Hope it works out OK. Now I have a useless piece of foam that I have to carry. Also, duct tape doesn’t seem to stick to anything the way it does in Berkeley. And something is making me sneeze. Dust, no doubt. Almost 8:00 PM. Time for bed.