July 2, 2016 – 15.5 miles
3,700 feet of elevation gain
2,800 feet of elevation loss
We decided that we would try and get over Muir Pass today instead of a shorter day again. There aren’t a lot of camping options far enough from camp but not too close to the pass. So we set the alarm for 5:45 and were on the trail by 7:10, after enjoying a cup of coffee.
The trail decided down into LeConte Canyon. It was a great morning for hiking and we decided about 2,500 feet. We saw two deer and got to follow a stream which turned into some amazing waterfalls on the way down. There was even a very cool footbridge that took you right in front of one of the largest falls today. We got to the bottom of the valley at 9:30.
The trail then connected with the JMT/PCT as we climbed to Muir pass. LeConte Canyon was breathtaking. We were bordered by huge granite walls cut out by glaciers so long ago. Again we followed another stream up the valley and everywhere you looked water was pouring down the mountain sides. We stopped for breakfast at 12:30 (ate our bars on the trail for breakfast) at a beautiful meadow right below, you guessed it, a waterfall. After lunch we headed up toward the pass.
As we approached Helen Lake the amount of snow exploded. With the high snow came water running everywhere, hidden trails and very wet feet!! Helen Lake was still mostly frozen over we we got there. The last 4 miles up to Muir Pass was over snow. Both Amy and I were cautious due to the soft snow and post holing being a very big danger.
We got to the pass at 4:10. We were rewarded with great views and of course the Muir Hut. This is a hut they built in honor of John Muir and serves as a refuge for hikers if bad weather hits. After taking pictures and soaking up the scenery we headed down toward Wanda Lake. Again the trail was hard to find as there was almost as much snow on this side of the pass. Thank goodness for previous hikers otherwise it would have been hard to tell where the trail went. I lead the way and was always on the lookout for footprints in the snow or water that looked like a stream, as it ran down the middle of the trail.
We found a great campsite at Wanda Lake at about 6:00. Both of us tired we enjoyed a hot meal and now sit in the tent staying warm and slowly drifting off to sleep. Today was hard but was amazing at the same time. It is days like this that make Amy and I came out here.
Thanks for reading! Bri