July 28th, 2018; Evolution Creek Crossing – Florence Lake-ish Junction: 10 miles
We did it! Day 12! We officially are half way done hiking the John Muir Trail. Again, not ready for this experience to be over, just grateful to have made it this far!
Marybeth woke up this morning feeling better – it’s a Christmas (in July) miracle! We got out relatively early and forded the Evolution Creek before 8am. Doing it early lessened our risk of being taken away by the strong current. And was it strong. Coming just to below my shorts, I carefully treaded along the wide creek and made it to the other side safely, despite all the creek’s effort to do me in. We had just under 9 miles to John Muir Rance, where we are resupplying for the second time. All downhill, we got there just around 1pm.
Unfortunately, smoke from the Yosemite fire (edit: This was actually smoke from a lightning caused fire just outside of Red’s Meadow – too many fires to keep up with!) caused the viewed to be hazy. I really hope it gets cleaned up by the time we roll through! Even for unfortunate is that Marybeth started to feel bad again during the last mile push to the ranch. It is extremely hot here, so I think that has a lot to do with it. Marybeth is also sick of food she packed – something I can relate to, I’m surviving purely on snacks on tuna. After cooling down and stomaching some calories, we made it to the ranch. We were greeted pretty coldly, but we were warned. Muir Trail Ranch is notorious for being a little rude to hikers. Maybe it’s part of their “charm”? Regardless, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, but I am pretty grateful they provide a resupply at all – that would leave a lot of hikers outta luck for food!
After picking up the bucket, we scoured the hiker buckets for any goodies other hiker’s left behind. Because people tend to pack way too much food (I am included in that statistic), MTR places leftover or unwanted food in buckets for other hikers to rummage through. In fact, there is so much leftover food that some people don’t even send their own bucket, but rely on the hiker buckets for their resupply. A little too much of a risk if you ask me. There were slim pickings today, but I did score some new tuna pack flavors (I was way too excited for this) and some electrolyte drink mixes. I also got rid of a lot of food that made my stomach churn just looking at it (peanut butter is awful on the trail). While waiting around – we stayed there four hours – we ran back into the sisters from a few days ago. Again, they were behind schedule so they decided to exit at Red’s Meadow in a few days. We also met a father and son who packed way too much food in their resupply and gave us their leftover Doritos and Fritos. If you ever want to see hikers go manic, give them Doritos. It no doubt resembled a pack of starved frantic seagulls going after an unsupervised bag of chips at the beach.
At the ranch, I got to weight Big Booty Judy – my lovely companion. Knowing she is a pretty hefty girl (I have been getting snide comments about the size of my pack the entire trail), I was not at all surprised that she came in weighing a solid 45 pounds all loaded up with food and water. The number made some of the other hikers cringe and judge. Good thing they’re not the ones carrying her! You won’t hear me complain about the weight – I knew what I was getting myself into.
Because of Marybeth’s unpredictable symptoms, there was a lot of indecision as to where to stay that night. MTR is close to Florence Lake, a bail out spot for JMT hikers. The closest campsite was across a waist deep river requiring use of an overhead rope to ford. I for one was not comfortable crossing with the pack. With some Doritos in her system, Marybeth considered hiking 2 miles North to another campsite. However, that put us too far from the Florence Lake exit should she choose to leave in the morning. So we decided to start the hike to Florence Lake and just stealth camp. Which is what we are doing now.
Marybeth is leaning towards exiting tomorrow. If that’s the case, I’ll be continuing this journey solo (shhh… my parents don’t know yet). She is planning on meeting back up in a couple days after being checked out by a doctor. I’ll be taking her In-Reach to keep in contact with her. The biggest problem for her will be finding transportation from Florence Lake to Fresno, the closest city. Florence Lake Resort is pretty remote and doesn’t have public transportation. There is a private shuttle that can be hired, but at $200 per ride, that is way too expensive. Marybeth is going to rely on the good nature kindness of strangers and hope that people leaving the resort will give her a ride on their way to Fresno. Being a Sunday, she might be in luck! One thing is certain, you cannot predict life on the JMT!
I’m pretty nervous for tomorrow. We’re only at 7.5K’ elevation and have to get to 10.9K’ in a short distance to make it over Selden Pass! Yikes – should be an interesting undertaking alone.