Day 2, August 27, 2021

Our first camp, after doing the wash. Almost time to gather everything up and get it all back in the packs, as soon as I finish my cup of tea.

Today is looking a little smokier than yesterday, but it’s still not bad. This morning, some hikers coming down from Evolution Valley said it was clear there, and they were right. I got very tired out today. We had meant to maybe hike as far as Evolution Lake, but stopped a few miles short of there, at the mouth of Evolution Valley. Our campsite is beautiful and quiet, though we saw lots of people on the trail. We are hidden behind a large granite outcropping not far from slow-moving Evolution Creek. We see nobody, and they don’t see us. The four men from the ferry kept leap-frogging with us all day. Luckily. They found Margaret’s credit card and return ferry ticket on the trail.

Our trail followed the San Joaquin up into the high country. There were some beautiful falls and swimming holes.
We saw very few really big trees still standing, but there were some mighty ones that had fallen. Without the trail crews, this one would have been quite the impediment to forward travel.

We have scrapped the Goddard Canyon plan for sure. We would need one more day to make it not be too much of a push. I am feeling good, in fact euphoric, being up here in the Sierra, but so very, very tired. Margaret is far more fit (well, I do have 10 years on her), and is making us some broth, which tastes delicious. As does almost all the food we brought. Flavors seem to explode in the mouth up here. Some highlights are my dried Damsun plums, from the backyard tree. They are like natural, organic Sweet Tarts!

We found out today that Richard, one of the four men sharing our route, is our neighbor. He lives perhaps two blocks from Margaret and four blocks from me! It always amazes me how many fellow Berkeleyans I run into up here in the mountains.

We stopped for a nice long lunch break where the trail leaves the San Joaquin and begins to climb steeply up to Evolution Valley. Here, Margaret poses nonchalantly alongside my big purchase of the year: a brand-new Bearikade bear canister. It has lightened our load considerably!

We stopped multiple times today for dips in the San Joaquin, and scrambled down to very beautiful Evolution Creek for more negative ions. There isn’t much water, but it is so invigorating and refreshing! The ford at Evolution Creek was only ankle-deep. I didn’t even bother to take my shoes off, but just splashed through. My hiking shoes, which are New Balance Minimus trail runners, dry remarkably quickly.

Looking back down the way we came, as we climb up to Evolution Canyon. I had been wanting to revisit this place since hiking the John Muir Trail in 2014. But I had forgotten what a slog it is to get up here! One step at a time…
We couldn’t resist dropping our packs and scrambling down to Evolution Creek, as it tumbles through its scoured granite bed.
Ahhh…this was a good stop.
We indulged in a brief dip in this pool. That’s some cold water!
Toward the mouth of Evolution Valley, where the creek starts to level off, we took yet another break to cool our toes.
Made it over with nary a miss-step.
This part of Evolution Creek was so idyllic, winding among the sweet-smelling pines. The dippers hunted in the riffles, so intent on their work
that they didn’t even seem to notice us.

Well, it happened! I was sitting in my tent writing and sipping broth, and I managed to spill the broth on my clothes and the tent floor. Now I have more chores to do. And I KNEW I was taking a risk, bringing food into the tent. When will I learn to heed my own warnings?

The view upward from near our campsite. Tomorrow, those mountains will be a lot closer!

I had to move my tent about six feet over, to a much more level place. What looked perfect when I set up, ended up having a hump in the middle, so that no matter which way I faced, my head was downhill.

It is so quiet and peaceful here. The phone says we covered 8.7 miles and climbed 25 flights of stars. I am amazed at the difference in my conditioning that a year has made. I really am dragging, but thankful that my knee isn’t acting up. Sometimes, I think I can just burst out into song, but when I do, the voice is still not there. I hit walls and just can’t access much of my range. Doctors prescribe rest and patience, both of which are difficult for this patient.

Another early night to bed, after watching the bats feeding above the creek.

Alpenglow on the peaks. I am in my happy (albeit tired) place.

2 thoughts on “Day 2, August 27, 2021

  1. Beautiful. Low water has its own enticements. I spent some days in October around Tuolumne Meadows one year and fell in love with all the smoothness and various colors from iron staining, etc. Plus you can sit in tiny waterfalls that most of the year would wash you away.


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