Day 78: Muir Pass

Mile 831.6 – 843.6

July 3rd, 2017

It’s crazy how much of a difference there is from being hydrated and being dehydrated while hiking, or doing anything physical for that matter. I woke up with an instant realization that I had a headache, but also that my body felt as though it was shutting down. I figured it was one of two things: either I ate something funky (most likely a bad Sierra Onion) or maybe yesterday proved to be more difficult on me than I previously thought. Either way I didn’t even think that it would’ve been due to a lack of water. Didn’t matter, I couldn’t just sit around and mope about my troubles, life goes on and so must I.

For four miles I was feeling extremely groggy, taking many breaks which allowed my group to gain a substantial lead ahead of me. I finally caught up with them at the end of that fourth mile, where they had stopped by a small stream. They poked fun at me for eating those damn onions, you know, saying that I might die . . this and that. I wasn’t so amused, but at the same time I didn’t have the energy to give it right back to them. I sat down, and for the next twenty minutes I forced myself to drink two liters of water. Not even one mile after we set back off I already felt over a thousand times better. It was crazy, and just in the nick of time too, for the hike up to Muir Pass was not for the faint of heart.

It was the usual long, snow-cupped stretches that we were growing accustomed to seeing, all the way up to the Muir Shelter. This is a pretty cool shelter that was built by the Sierra Club back in 1931. At just under 12,000 ft in elevation this hut would provide great shelter if the weather were to turn on you during this stretch. The granite rocks were carefully placed to form a circular dome, and inside there were benches for resting.

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Rooster and Lt. Dan at Muir Hut

We hung out at the hut for a little longer than we should have, and once we figured out what time it was and how much further we had to make it to get below snow level we frantically gathered up our packs and ran off. The descent of this pass seemed to go on forever . . a slow and painful one that had Lt. Dan and I stopping far too often to wait for others in the group. That is a huge factor that you don’t really think about, having to wait for people who are in your group. Tensions can rise when you’re constantly waiting for people, this I know for sure. Once we got down to a certain point we noticed that the bootpack we had been following veered off directly into a lake, which didn’t seem too appetizing to us being the end of the day and the temperature declining at a rapid rate. We spent the rest of the day creating our own path and the very last thing we did was cross a creek. I swear this creek had the coldest water on the planet; instant pins and needle pain as I entered into the small river. We ended up camping at a spot that has probably never been used to camp on in times past, on the edge of a cliff . . but we managed to get a fire going just as the sun was setting, and although we didn’t cover as much ground as we had originally hoped for we were warm, ready to take on another day in the morning.

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