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Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:06 pm
by astrogerly
At some point I'm going to do an actual (blog) post about my adventures this summer, but I wanted to do a mini-TR while I had a little time. I'm not one for a lot of words, so it will be brief but I have a lot of photos! :)

Our original plan was to spend 8/8-15 in Evolution, Ionian, climb Goddard, etc., but that was tweaked a first time when we forgot I can't carry a bear can anymore (silly weight limits). We revised plans a little and got 6 days worth of food in one bear can! Well, it turns out there would be one more revision that would occur when we got to Evolution... this time due to the smoke! Anyway, we were both carrying less weight than when we did the JMT three years ago... Dave had 28lbs this trip, I had 10 (sometimes weight limits are nice too).

The photos will speak for themselves, but here's a brief recap of the trip:

Day 1: North Lake - Darwin Bench. The hike up to Lamarck Col was the typical slog, but I never complain because I love the area. When we got to the Col, we got our first glimpse of the smoke that would stay with us throughout the trip. I didn't let it deter me though, I was so happy to be on this trip and on vacation!! The rest of the hike to Darwin Bench was uneventful, we were just happy when we were done with the talus/boulders.

Day 2: Darwin Bench - Muir Pass - Evolution Lake. The day started off beautiful - bluebird skies and I was feeling great. I'll admit I shed a few tears of joy when I saw Evolution Lake again. The Evolution Basin holds a special place in my heart, so it meant a lot for me to be back here again after my accident. We hadn't decided where we wanted to set up camp yet, so we just carried out backpacks with us to Muir Hut. The bluebird skies only lasted until just before Wanda Lake... the smoke had returned. It was a little eerie seeing so much smoke - and seeing so few things due to the smoke (McGee was barely visible at times from the Hut). We enjoyed the party in Muir Hut for awhile to get out of the smoke and also the crazy wind. On the way back down we decided to just camp at Evolution Lake instead of near Sapphire Lake. We found a great spot with nobody around overlooking the lake and views toward Huxley. Well, I should say views toward Huxley since it was obscured by smoke (that was a weird sight!). Dave decided to throw a little surprise into the evening, but you have to look at the photos to see what he did. While the smoke was bad, it was so nice to be back in Evolution again.

Day 3: Evolution Lake - Hutchinson Meadow. Luckily we woke up to bluebird skies again, but it was extra cold and windy. We'd decided the previous night to revise our trip yet again due to the smoke, so we were going to start heading toward Piute Pass. Goddard and Ionian weren't sounding like a great idea on this trip anymore due to the fact that the smoke seemed to get thicker and worse just from day one to two. I was a little bummed, but also okay with it at the same time. So, we packed up and started heading down toward Evolution Valley. It was a wonderful morning of hiking and was smoke free until we got near the switchbacks heading to the Goddard Canyon junction. It wasn't too bad down low, until we started heading toward Hutchinson Meadow. Not only was that a brutal stretch at the end of a long day of hiking, but the smoke was much worse as we headed up the trail. It was so bad that we couldn't even see Pilot Knob in front of us! I'm still a little in shock that I survived 19-20 miles with a backpack (I hadn't done anything close to that day hiking or backpacking since the accident... well, maybe 15 day hiking a month ago in Mammoth). It was a long day, but a good one overall... especially getting to spend the evening with hikers we met at Muir hut and had similar interests to us outside of hiking.

Day 4: Hutchinson Meadow - North Lake. This was a pretty uneventful morning of hiking and I was totally okay with that. When we got to Piute Pass, we could see the smoke lingering and starting to rise back down the canyon. As we headed back to the trailhead, we saw a surprising number of hikers for a Wednesday (more than we've seen on weekends on that trail). We made it back to the car before we saw any smoke come over Piute Pass.

Overall it was a great trip despite the smoke and revisions to our plans. I wish I had more time back in EVO, but the smoke was also ridiculous and not too healthy. I'm already ready to go back...

Photos: ... 6895119129

Re: Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:53 am
by freestone
Looked like you had fun in a great area. The picture of the tortilla, peanut butter, and M&Ms- yummy! Good idea.

Re: Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:30 am
by maverick
Nice to read that you are getting out Tiffany, you still managed to get some pretty shots and visit some pretty parts of the Sierra, to bad about the smoke, let's hope no more fires start up before Fall finally gets here.

Re: Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:06 am
by astrogerly
freestone - it was so delicious! much needed after a long day of hiking too!

maverick - thanks! it's been nice to be backpacking or day hiking every weekend... just been hard to get time to write things up lately since work has been a little hectic. It was really nice to finally do a longer backpacking trip and not have any issues with the back (that was a worry of mine since I haven't done a 3+ day trip in a long time). I'm hoping the fires start to calm down...

Re: Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:44 pm
by old and slow
Thanks for the great report and beautiful pics (even with the smoke) and congrats on the surprise from Dave!!!

Re: Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:59 am
by astrogerly
@old and slow - thanks!! As bummed as I was about having smoke on major portions of the trip, it did make for some unique perspective/photos of familiar places. I can't wait to go back again... when it's smoke free! Also, thank you! I kinda knew it was coming at some point this trip (he'd hinted at either on the summit of Goddard or in EVO), but the hilarious fake ring totally surprised me! I guess he didn't want to risk accidentally losing that one... ;)

Re: Mini-Evolution TR

Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:18 pm
by astrogerly
I finally decided to do a little blog post about this trip. A little more text to photos, but also just a little more text in general. Not my typical style post, but wanted to pass it along since I mentioned I would... ... e.html?m=1