August 5, 2015
14 miles today, 125 total
Piute Bridge to Sapphire Lake
Courtney and I left camp at 7:30am, before Andrew, but we knew it wouldn’t take him long to catch up. We had a few miles of flat terrain before a steep mile or two uphill, but the cool morning air made it pleasant. We headed into Evolution Meadow and walked rolling hills and forded rivers all afternoon. We were reaching my favorite part of the trail, and I was feeling wonderful. I was caffeinated and listening to music on my phone and every step I took felt strong and energized. Courtney and I powered through until lunch, where we stopped at McClure Meadow to wait on Andrew, Heather and Jennifer. We all took a long lunch and enjoyed the weather, which was sunny but slightly overcast due to distant wildfire smoke.
After lunch we had a hard climb up to Evolution Basin, which was my favorite stretch of the JMT. It was only a mile and a half of switchbacks, but the terrain was so steep that it felt much longer. When we reached the top, there was a whole group of people there from the Sierra Club setting up tents for the evening. We were planning on going farther, so we just paused to take in the beauty of Evolution Lake and the surrounding peaks, named after the fathers of evolution: Mt. Darwin, Mt. Mendel, Mt. Spencer, Mt. Haeckel, and Mt. Wallace.
When Heather, Jennifer and Andrew reached us, we all soaked in the view, and Jennifer noted aloud, “well, this doesn’t suck!”
We moved along the trail at a slow pace, taking pictures every five minutes.
We only went another two miles before finding a campsite beside Sapphire Lake. It was only 4:00pm, but it gave us plenty of time to set up tents, cook a hot dinner, and play a few games of dice and cards. We laughed together like old friends and watched the sun set over the basin. The sun turned the mountains a stunning shade of orange, breathtaking to behold.
When we crawled into our tents, and Andrew under his tarp, we fell asleep to the sounds of giggling as Jennifer and Heather farted in their tent and the rest of us chanted, “Let – it – out! Let – it – out!”