Day 52 (Tape)

It’s late in the day, June 6th, Thurday. We are contemplating THE BIGGEST, BY FAR ford that we’ve done. Pete’s doing a dry run without a backpack right now. He’s in to his waist, about. Not even halfway across, he’s having trouble walking. He’s turning around. Looks like the water’s too fast, gets too deep. He’s looking back at the other side. This is Evolution Creek, it is a huge river. About 20 yards to the other side.

No go?

Pete: You’re not gonna get over, over your hips, but it’s really fast. And ah, every step you take, you’re gonna go about a foot and a half, two feet down the stream. So I think, start up there, right in that eddy across the way. And reel out, don’t try to fight to stay level, just keep walking at a diagonal.

Right. Okay.

Pete: It’s cold!

Yup. I believe that. Well okay.

————-

Well believe it or not we are on the other side of Evolution Creek! (Shivering) What do you think, Pete, was that a breeze?

Pete: No, no. It was extremely, I, it was pure survival mode. One hunderd percent just, animalistic survival mode.

(gasping laugh) I personally have never done anything like it. I was flailing out there. All I cared about was gettin to the other side. I was (shiver-laugh), who knows what my feet were doing under there!? But ah, let’s see, in my front I got in to about, above my belly, and that was from leaning forward mostly. And the bottom, oh I’d say the bottom six inches of my pack got wet on the back. But yes, all in all, I got through the… as we walked across we couldn’t keep our feet on the ground. You couldn’t fight the current. You had to let it kinda sweep you down while you find, found, whatever purchase you could on the river floor to propel you across. And so we did a diagonal down the river, started up river. Did a diagonal down as the current swept us. And ah, it was fast, and it was probably waist-deep, had I been standing up straight.

Pete: which was impossible.

Yup.

Pete: no human could do it.

But we made it! And that’s how. And that was the first, really, river crossing experience that I have had in my life, I can say. Really the only other river experience I’ve had at all has been with Pete on the, on the raft, rafting the Snake, in Jackson. So, that was ah, out-and-out terrifying for me I’d have to say, right about the middle of it. (Pete guffaws) And towards the middle of it I calmed down gathered my wits and started to think about what I was doing a little bit. And just when the current got faster and I fell and, or started to fall, and losing my balance, and (jumbled) myself back up… but it was absolutely crazy! We’re on the other side, we’ve gone probably, I don’t know how many miles today. Somewhere in the 17, 18, 19 area.

Pete: Miles schmiles.

Yeah, miles schmiles. We have a very full day. So whatever’s left is probably going to pale in comparison to what we already (breaks off laughing).

——————-

Still Thursday, the sixth of June, we’re in camp now. Low down, ah, we just… I guess last night we kinda camped… well we didn’t really camp very low last night. This is our first really below-9000-ft campsite. Or around 9000-ft anyway. Um, nothing more eventful has happened since the great fording. Ah, except maybe that I fell on the way down this trail to get to this campsite. We’re camped by the San Joaquin River, which we just crossed on a bridge. This river is not nearly as wide or as fast as the creek which we had to wade across. (laugh) It’s ah, it’s just dusk, ah the stars are not quite out yet but they’re gonna start popping out any second now. The, I thought I’d do a little entry after the crossing event, just to kind of wrap up the day. Cause the beginning of the day, although not quite as exciting or as intense, was also notable because of the extreme amount of snow that we had to go through.

It was Muir Pass, which is the last of the really high passes, I guess. Ah, it’s almost 12,000 feet, not quite. But it’s supposed to be really mellow, and everybody’s been telling us it’s a piece of cake. Well, it’s true enough that it’s not very steep, but it’s got miles of snow on either side. And, we woke up this morning and promptly hiked up the trail and into the snow. And ah, got up early enough this time to walk on solid snow for a while. Which really helped. It was, the way up to the pass was really kind of cool. You meander through all these ah, tiny lakes, and ah the, the creeks that run into them and off of them. And they, you can’t see any of these lakes from the others, above or below. They just kind of wander through this maze of little canyons, all totally covered with snow of course. Snow covered canyons and frozen lakes. And it was really kind of interesting wandering up. And we just going, longer than we had thought it could. I mean you’d think that it would have to be at the crest by now, but you’d go up a drainage and around a bend and there would be another lake. And it just kept going that way until we reached Helen Lake, which was the last one before the pass. It was, by the time we got there, we ate breakfast at Helen Lake. The snow was startin to get soft. And ah, it was the beginning of a very long slog.

We slogged in soft snow up the pass. At the top of the pass was a little stone shelter dedicated to John Muir. And ah, there was a register inside. And in the register we learned that ah, a couple guys named, whose nicknames are Let It Be and Psycho Ken– we’ve been kinda following their progress. They’re trying to go from Mexico to Canada and then back down the trail again to Mexico. Ah, sounds absolutely crazy to me, but its kind of interesting. And I guess they’d gotten through a couple weeks before us. They were planning, had planned to go through a month before that, but ah, got delayed by snow and avalanche danger. And so they’re haulin ass now ahead of us I’m sure. But that’s kind of interesting.

Then down the other side of Muir Pass was soft, soggy snow. And it was miles of it. It didn’t go down very steep, we just kept passing these lakes. And it was just one step after the other. Slog. Schlog. Schlog. Schlog.

And the sun was bright. Everything was bright. All you could see was white everywhere. And it really became kind of hynotizing and intense after a while. Ah, it was definitely tiring, but I got into kind of a rhythym where I could just keep schloggin it seemed like forever, till something stopped me. And ah, god it just seemed like that snow was just never ever going to end. But eventually we got to the end. There were some switchbacks that took us down out of the snow, and that was after lunch. And ah, then we made our way down the valley, which was beautiful once again, to the creek crossing. And you’ve got the rest of it from there. Those are the events of the day. Should there be any more events tomorrow, we’ll let you in on em. Goodnight.

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