Day 13 on the John Muir Trail…
We slept not too far away from Muir Trail Ranch, with the headwaters of the San Joaquin providing our soundtrack for the night. Fortunately, our bear bag was unmolested. We broke camp and hiked about a quarter mile back to MTR to enjoy the promised breakfast (it was well worth it).
Jeffrey and Hari took the purist approach, retracing our steps up the valley to the junction we left the JMT at yesterday. Joan and I opted for the easier trail along the valley bottom. Both trails met up at the 1.6 mile mark.
A bit further beyond that was the John Muir Trail Cabin. This wasn’t a cabin that Muir himself ever stayed in, but it was built in his honor.
Today we would hike into Kings Canyon National Park. This park easily rivals Yosemite in beauty, but is much more wild and unspoiled. We bid farewell to the John Muir Wilderness, and crossed this bridge into Kings Canyon.
The JMT follows along the South Fork of the San Joaquin River for over six miles, and the canyon becomes narrow, steep and rugged.
The trail winds through the canyon, climbing ever higher and crossing the fast-moving water on two more bridges. These bridges are amazing feats of engineering, especially given their remote location. And we were thankful they were there. The water ran high and fast, and I can’t imagine crossing any other way.
At mile 6.6, we crossed the third bridge for the day, and began the super steep switchbacks climbing up beside Evolution Creek. At the crest, you get a little breather and then, a boots-off creek crossing. This was thigh-high water, and while it doesn’t look treacherous, it is flowing fast and has a strong pull.
On the other side of Evolution Creek, we decided to stop for dinner. We fired up the stove and enjoyed some warm food, then cleaned up and hiked on to McClure Meadow.
Jeffrey, Joan and I finished the final 2-1/2 miles and rolled into camp right at sundown. Hari had already set up camp with another JMT thru-hiker named Brian. We warmed up around a campfire sipping hot chocolate and sharing our tales from the trail.
Trail Map: Muir Trail Ranch to McClure Meadow
JMT Day 13 Photo Gallery
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Tomorrow, we head over Muir Pass!
Originally hiked on August 8, 2010.