June 28 – Lady on a Rock

A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!
~Anon.

Middle Fork of the Kern River to Colby Meadow (Evolution Valley)
18.4 miles

Today was simply a gorgeous day! We started early up Le Conte Canyon. The trail was water filled and Little Pete Meadow was more like a pristine high Sierra lake. The concerning part was the abundance of avalanche damage across the canyon and the downed trees across the trail. Every day the full on snow level consistently seems to start at the elevation of 9800. Not just a little snow, but many feet.

A storm system brought in the wind, cool air, and amazing clouds as we approached Muir Pass. The sheer snow open space of this approach is overwhelming and the cobalt blue fringes on frozen lakes are almost unnatural. This place is wild. At the top is the historical Muir Hut. We gathered with other hikers to warm up and get out of the elements for just a moment. One hiker was trying to dry out shoes and socks. Don’t know how that was going to happen?!?! We are thankful for our NRS Wet Socks.

So I am pretty excited about the descent of the pass. The snow was perfect for sliding your feet forward, kind of like cross-country skiing. BUT more importantly, this is the location of Lady on a Rock. You see it is not me, but a woman I met briefly at this location on the trail a couple of years ago. She was resting on a rock and I stopped to talk with her a bit. She told me she was a retired stewardess from Chicago and had been hiking sections for a few years to complete the entire Pacific Crest Trail and she was solo. She even said that her family jokes that if she dies before it is completed they will have to carry her ashes to finish the trail. WELL, just this small moment in time with this lady on a rock gave me the courage and inspiration that I too could do it. So here I am. Thank you, Lady on a Rock! This is a pic of the approximate location and of course the only rock I could find that was visible (frozen Wanda Lake is in the distance). So cool.

My Lady on a RockSo I also want to talk about snow bridges. Every day we cross over many frozen snow-covered streams these are called snow bridges. These can be a bit scary. What if they break through when you are top? The consequences are dramatic and very unpleasant.  My strategy: treat them with respect and cross ever so lightly! For example, the famous crossing of Evolution Creek at the inlet of Sapphire Lake was crossed on a very thin snow bridge. Yep, no getting wet. For hikers in a week or so, these bridges will be nothing but traps.

We hiked endless cold miles to reach the dry ground to camp before the full on storm hit. We came into camp dead dog tired and worked together silently to set up camp, build a fire, put up tents, and cook dinner. Tomorrow morning we will be crossing our deepest and widest ford Evolution Creek at Evolution Meadow. Rain is now hitting the top of our tent while we are well fed, dry, and warm.
Helen Lake-below Muir Pass
Muir Pass
Depth of the snow at the top
Inside Muir Hut
Evolution Creek

 

 

11 Comments

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  4. The computer I’m at won’t let me see videos and pics, but I’m enjoying the reading…I’ll get to those videos and picures soon I hope. Cool to hear where Lady on a Rock came from!

    • Glad you read that. I think it is really important to never underestimate what impact we as humans can have (positive and negative) from just a brief encounter.

  5. love the videos! wow what an amazing (and many times scary) experience.

    • JEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!! Good to hear from you in blog land. It IS quite the electric experience. Your boyfriend is a natural at snow travel and survival. I am thankful for his strength and stamina.

  6. Your pictures are unbelievable. I can’t imagine how tough it was. Who is that handsome YOUNG man in the pictures??? Those rivers/creeks would scare me to death. Ufdah!

    • Swollen and swift creeks are very scary and intimidating. You just don’t know how much force you can take until your body gets swept away. Not good.

  7. Your photos are AWESOME!

    • Thank you Janet. I am pretty happy with the Panasonic LX-5 camera. Some of the pics are also taken on a Canon S95 and Canon 1400. They seem to be doing the job is such awesome landscape. Thanks for following along.

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