The Sky Has Finally Opened
Beginning Elevation = 10,850
Ending Elevation = 9,750
Elevation Range = 7,900 – 10,850
Weather: Started sunny and clear with afternoon thunderstorm
“When it rains, it pours
But you didn’t even notice… it ain’t rainin’ anymore
It’s hard to breathe when all you know is
The struggle of stayin’ above the risin’ water line
Well the sky has finally opened
The rain and wind stopped blowin’
But you’re stuck out in the same ol’ storm again
You hold tight to your umbrella
Well, darlin’, I’m just tryin’ to tell ya
That there’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head” – Kacey Musgraves
Yes…a second Kacey Musgraves quote! Her Golden Hour album was a hit for all of us on this journey, and for me, the song Rainbow was an anthem I listened to quite often.
5:30am… waking up to views like this never gets old!
The trail began going downhill and would keep that general trend for the next 13 miles!
For the first 8 miles, we followed along the same path as Evolution Creek. There were waterfalls, meadows, lovely forests with gnarly barked treees, and occasional glimpses of our larger context surroundings…
After the 8 mile Evolution Creek hike, we made it to a junction where we sort of turned and started following the South Fork San Joaquin River for a bit. It was a pretty neat section of river, crashing through a canyon at times. The trail followed along from above…
Somewhere along here, in a stretch where the river calmed and quieted, we took a lunch break I believe. I remember setting stuff out to dry, but even as we were sitting eating our lunch, things began to get darker above us. Our hiker senses were tingling and so we decided to pack up quickly and have our rain stuff at the ready. It wasn’t long before the rain began and it fell hard! Some booming thunder too…
Our original attitude was to just hike through it. We were prepared with our rain gear and such, but after a while, the trail filled up with water and we managed to reassemple the group and have a quick chat (it was so loud, we had to yell at Calzone who was leading, in order to get her to stop). We all decided take shelter under two fully branched pines!
We stayed there a while trying to stay warm. Then, as things began slowing, we trekked onward and entered into the John Muir Wilderness boundary.
The rain stayed with us for a while. Not until we stopped for a break at the Muir Trail Ranch side trail junction did it really quit completely. I felt inspired to conduct an on-trail performance singing Kacey’s, “Rainbow” and it just so happened that some other hikers came by at that exact time to get a sneak viewing.
We had reached the low elevation point for the day and our nice downhill trail switched and began going back up!
Up we wet… and got some views…
As Donkey from Shrek says, “I like that boulder, that is a nice boulder.”
I had a recollection of this exact spot from when I’d traveled solo through this stretch in October 2019. There was a little color showing then with the Aspen’s…
Oh how I love the different seasons… So much green going through this time…
And a bit of yellow in the Fall…
After a grueling series of swtichbacks, the trail briefly leveled off at Senger Creek. We were more than ready to stop and make camp. After setting up our tents, we each commenced to laying out our wet gear in hopes of it drying a bit, but the late day sun didn’t have much impact on the full drenching we’d experienced earlier. It was our longest day yet and that was a good feeling!