Day 7: Evolution Meadow to Evolution Lake (6.5 mi.)
Aug. 3: Itís sunny!! The sky is clear and blue. It was cold last night; the grass in the meadow was covered with frost until the sun hit it. (Hopefully itís reduced the mosquito population.)
Our mules and the neighboring mules were loose last night. One of theirs had a bell on it, so you could hear it moving around during the night.
Since we had a late night, and we have a short day ahead, breakfast is later than usual. We donít leave camp until almost 11 a.m.
Itís a beautiful walk alongside the three meadows of Evolution ValleyóEvolution (9,200), McClure (9,600), and Colby (9,800). McClure is the largest of the three, and the view across the meadow with the mountains to the south is spectacular. At Colby Meadow, which is dominated by Hermit Peak, we find a field of wild onions.
|Evolution Meadow||McClure Meadow||Colby Meadow & Hermit Peak|
As we climb up from the last meadow, following a stream, we stop to enjoy lunch by a small waterfall around 1 p.m. After our quick lunches in the drizzle or between showers of the last few days, itís wonderful to be able to sit in the sun and take our time to enjoy the view.
We climb steeply on switchbacks up the cliffs at the head of Evolution Valley and arrive at Evolution Lake (10,850) at 3:25. The mules arrive at 4:15. (Since we are above 10,000 feet, we cannot have a fire. So we are especially glad to see the mules arrive not long after we do.) After all the mules have been unloaded and the kitchen is setup, Vic and Harry leave with the mules to camp back down at Evolution Meadow since saddle stock is not allowed to graze here.
While we are waiting for the mules, a guy who is camped in the rocks above comes and asks us to move. Weíre detracting from his view! After some scouting around, we find that there just isnít any other place to camp; this is the only semi-flat area big enough for all our tents. Once we start to put up our tents, he packs up his stuff, complains about us encroaching on HIS territory, threatens to tell a ranger, and moves on. As dusk is descending, a lone backpacker arrives at the meadow and asks if we mind him camping near us. Of course not, and offer him a cup of hot coffee.
At some point during the afternoon, a pack train passes through heading back the way we came. They inform us that all the rains over the last few days caused a landslide on Bishop Pass. Itís now impassable for pack animals, but foot traffic can get through. It could be 2-3 days before it is re-opened. This is not good news. Our resupply is expected over Bishop Pass the day after tomorrow.
This is a spectacular spot and the sunny skies after six days of rain make it possible for us to really enjoy it. George goes fishing. Andrew and Dina hike up an unnamed peak (11576). I go exploring to take photographs from the outlet of the lake looking west down into Evolution Valley. With the sun low in the sky, the light reflects off the lakes and streams below. Evolution Lake itself appears to be quite small from our vantage point since there is a large point of land that juts out into the lake almost severing it into two. And, of course, the granite peaks of Mts. Mendel and Darwin to the east and Mts. Spencer and Huxley to the south provide the perfect backdrop to the calm, blue waters of the lake. Weíre just at the tree line, so there are only a couple of stunted whitebark pines which appear to be growing out of the rocks of this glacially scoured basin.
For the first time on the trip, Debbie can cook without dodging rain drops and at a more reasonable houróitís not dark yet. Meanwhile, we get to sit, sip our wine and drink in the scene as the sun sets, casting a pink glow on the surrounding mountain tops. Debbieís Dijon chicken breasts, served with zucchini & other veggies and pasta with a Parmesan cheese sauce, are a big hit.
With no mules, no rain, and no bugs at 10000+ feet, the night is very quiet.
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