The Final 10 Days…
Today we embark on what is said to be the best section of the JMT. Wayne has been looking forward to reaching Evolution Basin simply for the photographic opportunities that it has to offer.
I, on the other hand, am looking forward to camping near to a lake again so I can wash my hair and get some laundry done! Even in the wilderness you have to prioritise these things!
Reflections, reflections… at Evolution Lake.
Day 17 – Evolution Creek to North Evolution Lake (4.3 miles) – Sunday 14th September 2014 – ‘Double Rainbow Delight’
Luckily, whilst camped down the valley by Evolution Creek yesterday, there hadn’t been a storm during the night as we had anticipated. But when we woke up this morning the clouds still looked rather ominous, so we knew we were in for rain sometime today. Thankfully we only had just over 4 miles to go to reach Evolution Basin and the north end of Evolution Lake where we had planned on camping. Whilst looking at our route on the map, we had spotted ‘Hell For Sure Pass’, which thankfully isn’t part of the JMT. Just by it’s very name we were particularly glad we didn’t have to tackle that one!
A cloudy but beautiful start as we set off along Evolution Creek towards McClure Meadow.
A rest stop at McClure Meadow.
We passed a Ranger Station after McClure Meadow. So far, only one ranger has asked to see our ‘wilderness permit’.
Making friends on the JMT! Mexican Man meets our Lego Hiker Minis on the way to Evolution Lake.
We took a steady walk and arrived at Evolution Lake just before midday, having stopped partway up the switchbacks for Wayne to get a time lapse focussed on ‘The Hermit’ – a giant rock that dominates the view all the way up the valley.
Heading up to Evolution Lake at around 10,000 feet.
Pausing for a photo in front of ‘The Hermit’.
Wayne captures a time lapse sequence of the clouds moving above ‘The Hermit’.
With dramatic skies overhead, our view as we walk upon Evolution Lake.
We were the only hikers to have arrived at that time, so we had our choice of pre-used campsites. We picked a nice, sheltered spot in an enclosed area near to some trees, just in case the heavens opened. And we pitched the tent just in time as it did just that, but rather than rain, we had huge hail stones lashing down on the tent! A fellow hiker, just a few days ago, had told us to expect this kind of weather in September. I guess there’ll be no more afternoons of lakeside sunbathing for us! But I did get to wash my hair, in between bouts of sunshine and showers of hail! Because of the inclement weather though, most of the afternoon was spent hunkered down in the tent avoiding the worst of it. (So no chance to do laundry).
We arrive late morning at Evolution Lake and we have it all to ourselves for a while.
Clouds and reflections – our two favourite prerequisites for getting the tripod out!
We were wowed by incredible scenery all around.
We were above treeline surrounded by more granite peaks.
Looking back down the valley towards McClure Meadow.
The clouds grow darker and a storm looks imminent.
Bracing ourselves for an afternoon of rain.
Watching the clouds before having to take refuge in the tent.
What we hoped was a good, sheltered camp spot to keep us out of the brunt of the storm.
I hate to say it, but stuck in the tent is when it actually gets boring. We both agreed that we should have at least brought with us a pack of playing cards for times like these! Thank goodness it’s only been one afternoon confined to the tent so far!
And with boredom inevitably comes hunger. But we had to resist eating anything extra out of our bear canisters as that would leave less for another day, and we are only just surviving on what rations we’ve got now! So instead of actually eating, we laid there detailing all the food we want to eat when we finish the JMT. Wayne has set his heart on a ‘burger pizza’ after seeing it on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives’. I’m more desperate for a salad, with a burger on the side of course! And so it goes that we’re back to ‘burger dreaming’ again – and it’s only been 5 days since we last had one! Thru-hiking is definitely the road to a hearty appetite. Not that we needed any encouragement as we’re both ‘big’ eaters. Let’s hope we don’t feel the need to sacrifice a fellow hiker in our quest to be ‘full’! By the time we’d reeled off a banquet, the hail seemed to be over and it was brightening up. It was almost 5pm, soon to be our much awaited dinner time!
We hunkered down in the tent as a hail storm ferociously passed through Evolution Basin.
Wayne prefers inclement weather as he thinks it makes for better photos.
Evolution Lake as the storm rolls in.
Unsettled waters still provide us with more reflections of the surrounding mountains.
So we finally ventured out of the tent, only to witness lovely reflections on the lake, cloudy dramatic skies and a double rainbow! Wayne was thrilled that he’d even managed to capture this incredible scene on a time lapse. For the next couple of hours there was intermittent fork lightning and thunder rolling through, but we were just getting the aftermath. Most of the real action was happening in the next valley, which we were actually glad about.
We were excited at witnessing a ‘double rainbow’ when the afternoon storm had subsided.
Wayne leaves the comfort of the tent to capture more shots of the lake.
Hopefully the worst of it has passed.
A little bit of blue sky is starting to peek through.
We sat and watched the setting sun whilst eating a meagre camp dinner of spicy cous cous and tuna, during which the sun lit up the mountain range opposite us a deep, fiery red. It looked beautiful and helped to take our minds off the fact that we were still hungry!
Venturing out of the tent for our long awaited dinner!
Light rays hit the mountains as the sun finally makes an appearance.
A panorama showing the changing light and colour at sunset.
Touching the tip of the mountain, the final light from the setting sun.
We watch even more dramatic skies as the sun goes down.
What had been an uneventful afternoon stuck in the tent, turned out to be one of Wayne’s favourite days on the JMT because of all the fantastic photo opportunities he was presented with. Not least because he managed to capture a double rainbow from that unique moment in time! I suppose a little bit of bad weather never hurt anyone. It certainly makes for good photos.
I, on the other hand, am still hoping for sunshine and blue skies tomorrow though, especially as all ‘the big stuff’ is coming next!