Day 175 (Oct. 12): Mile 872.8 – 850.2

Seldon Super Saturday

Beginning Elevation = 9,000
Ending Elevation = 9,250
Elevation Range = 7,900 – 10,900
Weather: Sunny and clear, high 60°F

Went for the classic 5:55am wake up and 6:48am departure from camp this morning. All was well but for one thing. I discovered during packing up, unless I’m mistaken and they’re hidden somewhere within the depths of the Hulk, my waterproof and insulated gloves have gone missing. At this time there is no reason to expect foul play (especially since I only saw 2 other humans yesterday), but rather I expect my personal flaw of forgetting/misplacing things as being the culprit.

I hike on saddened that not only will my fingers surely be lost to frostbite now, but I have left a trace in the wild and shall be cursed forever. My hope is that someone will find them and a new bond shall be formed between glove and hand. My fear is they will remain out here through the winter and slowly deteriorate, desecrating the pristine wilderness with horrible human unnaturalness.

I had only a half mile or so of slight downhill until I began my uphill to Seldon Pass. Things started out nicely though, pretty gradual stuff. My prediction about my fingers was coming true though! Ok, maybe not anywhere near frostbite levels, but I was needing to take breaks from using my treking poles to put my hands in my sweat pants pockets. And then, I eventually started using the technique of using my hat and Buff (Yosemite NP Buff that I found at Garnet Lake…washed in Mammoth Lakes) as makeshift mittens.

The trail followed alongside and eventually crossed the mighty Bear Creek.

This is apparently supposed to be one of the most feared crossings during high melt season. I was very thankful to have no issues. I simply rock hopped across. In fact, I crossed three times just for kicks. Not really, I did cross it three times, but the truth is that I crossed early misreading the trail and my app, and then had to come back across once I figured it out. And then the crossing at the actual point where the trail did go to the other side makes three.

It wasn’t all that far to Marie Lake from the creek. Along the way, I came across two backpackers making their way back to the trail from what looked like the place they camped. I chit chatted briefly and found out they were John Muir Trail hikers. I went ahead and found my breakfast spot at the southern shore of Marie Lake. It was rather a nice spot I thought…

While hanging out at the lake, watching the trout surfacing and swimming around, I explored my phone’s camera features to see if there might be some fancy technique I could implement. This is what I came up with…

Going back to the trout…they’re everywhere in these waters, the streams and the lakes both. I mean, I don’t even have to search for them, I just glance and usually see 5-17 of them. I think of them as the Bluegill of the Sierra. That, or maybe like the alewives in Lake Michigan during the 90’s, although that may be a bit extreme.

I didn’t realize how very close my breakfast spot was to the pass and so once I got going again, I was up top after just a short amount of time. There was a nice view of Marie Lake from above…

Here’s my “summit” video…

And my “summit” poses…

Michael Jordan – Fadeaway, Seldon Pass, 11:00am”

Michael Jordan – The Air Up There, Seldon Pass, 11:05am”

Here’s one more shot from the top looking down to where I’m headed…

It was nice and gradual down to Senger Creek, which was about the half way point of what I hoped to accomplish for the day. Similar to previous day’s out here, there were many pretty lakes for me to walk by. Here’s Heart Lake, which shocker, was shaped like a heart…

This is looking the opposite direction from the lake’s outlet…

I saw this guy/gal…

And then walked right between the two lakes below, which were just labeled as Sallie Keyes Lakes…

The trail went right next to the shore and as mentioned earlier, the fish were abundant. This particular lake had some of the biggest ones I’ve seen out here. That sounds impressive, but really it just means maybe they were 8-10 inches rather than 5-7 inches.

I had lunch with other people for the first time in quite a while. These folks, Bodie (a true southbounder) and the two JMT’ers I came across earlier (I found out they were from Slovakia), were even going my direction! I was the last to leave Senger Creek and when I finally did, was happy to learn I still got to go down more…and see some more yellow Aspen trees.

With all this attention being given to the colorful trees, I was sensing the tall giant pines were getting jealous. Towards the low point, before I started going back up, there were quite a few big ones. Although a little more difficult to show off their size and beauty, I gave it a try still…

And I took a photo that showed both…

Around 3:30pm, I made it to Piute Creek where there was a nice bridge. I filled up some water and had a nice break. Then, once continuing on the other side, I discovered I was entering Kings Canyon National Park once again. I didn’t really know this was part of the plan for today, but was excited to see what the park had to offer.

This bridge also marked the start of my big trek up to Johnny John Muir Pass, which I hope to get to tomorrow. It’s about 19 miles ahead and about 4,000 feet elevation gain. That sounds like quite the task, and it is, but really stretching the climb over so many miles makes for a pretty gradual approach. I started out following along the South Fork of the San Joaquin River.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like pretending to be a photographer out here and so when I saw an opportunity, I felt inspired to cross the river for the perfect shot…

I liked it. It looked neat to me. I was feeling groovy. But sometimes that’s when life decides to knock you on your ass. And for me, that’s quite literally what happened. Instead of going back the way I came across the river, I kept going upstream with the idea that I’d find a new crossing. Dumb idea. After going a long ways, rock hopping my way along, feeling overconfident in my skills, I fell. I think it was a rock that was wet and I didn’t realize, and so when I put my left shoe sole on it, immediately I slipped and was in the icy cold water. I was lucky actually that I had my pack on to have cushioned my fall somewhat and that it was shallow. Really only my pack and left side of body got wet, and I got up feeling fine other than really foolish an frustrated. Eventually, I got across the river, but had to get my shoe completely submerged again to do so.

After around 5 miles of cruising along the San Joaquin, the trail left and went up Evolution Creek.

There were some nice waterfalls going up Evolution Creek!

Like Bear Creek earlier, this one is supposed to be one that hikers fear to cross during times of high melting. It wasn’t so bad for me today…

I did still go upstream a tad so as not to get wet again. And found a spot where I could walk across dry. And not too much further on, I set up my tent at a nice spot along the edge of a meadow. It was around 6:15pm.

I often use this technique with my sleeping pad as a tool for carrying my dinner items.

I did so tonight and brought everything over for a view of the meadow and potential sunset. So fifteen minutes after getting to my tent site, I was ready to start cooking and dining with some new deer friends…

The sunset never really developed any further and it got dark and cold pretty quickly. Thus, I ended up eating in the dark out there, but watched as stars began emerging. The moon came up as I was packing everything up for the evening and it was super bright. Once over the mountains, it was almost like daylight again.

Today’s Music/Podcasts:

2017 Barack Obama Farewell Address – American Speeches for an Educated Public

The Lumineers – Cleopatra

The Lumineers – III

3 thoughts on “Day 175 (Oct. 12): Mile 872.8 – 850.2

  1. Ruth Prins

    Incredible summit pose! How you managed to get air with a heavy pack on you back……you are in excellent shape apparently! cool mimic of catching a football! 🙂
    Good to hear that your fall on the slippery rock wounded your ego and did no serious and lasting harm to your body!

    Liked by 1 person

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