Day 52 Mile 823.2 – 836.5

Elevation: ascent 3,286 ft, descent 1,043 ft

We didn’t feel like we could get to and over Muir Pass, which lies ahead, in one day. So today we had decided to get as close to the pass as possible to allow us to have an easy push to get over tomorrow. There are reports that there is quite a bit of snow on the north side and we should expect a lot of post holing for a couple of miles.

We left camp this morning a little before 8:00 with the goal of hiking about 13 miles. Today’s hike was going to be in the valley most of the day. With all of the snow melting quickly with the warmer temps we had streams flowing down the side of the mountains around us and across or down the trails we were on all day again. In total we had 19 stream crossings. Somehow we were able to keep our feet dry by balancing on logs or hopping from rock to rock for all of them.

In the morning we followed the Palisade Creek down and the turned up a new canyon as we climbed towards Muir Pass along the Middle Fork of the Kings River. The sky was cloudy most of the day making the hike through the forest a little darker than what we were us to the last couple of days. It also decreased some of the ooh and aww with our views and pictures. Nevertheless it was still extremely beautiful. It is crazy to think that we are hiking with two other people on the PCT/John Muir Trail and we have it all to ourselves 😳. Normally these trails would be crowded with hikers, yet this year it is only the four of us these past few days. We feel extremely lucky!!

We took a break for lunch right before the Bishop Pass trail at 11:30. While we were eating Mantis and Pants strolled by. We have plans to camp with them again tonight, but they weren’t quite ready for lunch. Our bodies really enjoyed the lunch break as we were able to give them the calories they were calling out for. Having hiked over 4 passes in the past 3 days and today really being about 3/4 of a pass we have been burning a ton of calories.

We had some great views looking back down the valley as we climbed. We caught up with Mantis and Pants who stopped for lunch at around 1:00. Right after that Double Down and I were caught by the extremely rare Rock Whale 🤣.

The last mile and a half had us navigating through snow once again. We had our fingers crossed that the tent site would be snow free. Well our wishes came true, snow free ground we could set our tent up on. We arrived at 4:00 and went about setting up camp. We also inventoried our food supply and were happy to see we have some extras meals, since we are traveling a bit faster than we had anticipated. That means we are going to have two meals tonight, plus I’ll whip up the mash potatoes I didn’t have for lunch today 😋.

Mantis and Pants got to camp around 5:30 and our plan is to get up early to get over Muir while the snow is still relatively hard. For the third straight day we are being treated to thunderstorm. Thank goodness we finished eating and cleaned up just in time to crawl into the tent. We are lying here as our tent is being pelted with hail. It looks like snow all around us. Meanwhile there are brilliant flashes and the loudest thunder echoing off the granite walls near us. Guess we might wake to a winter wonderland in the morning.

Thanks for following along and we hope you all are staying safe!! Link