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We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

June 19th

We ascend Muir Pass alongside a stream with stunning waterfalls. It’s a long, but steady climb to the source of all this water – massive fields of snow the last 3 miles. Often the snow covers the water, masking it from view. Snow bridges are beautiful but dangerous this time of year as they soften and fall apart quietly, quickly and unpredictably. We try to walk around them, but step gingerly atop those we must cross.

The route follows a narrow gorge, rising through a series of snow filled basins, dotted with lakes in various stages of thawing.

There is very little visible trail tread as we pick a route across the snow. Many footprints led the way, sometimes to the next snippet of trail tread and sometimes they lead astray. Finally after one last climb straight up a steep snow slope, the “white staircase”, we come to Muir Hut sitting astride Muir Pass.

Despite the fact that this is a year of incredibly low snow levels, Muir Pass still held enough snow to make today’s trek an exciting snow adventure. Certainly the most snow we have seen on any of the passes thus far. Our ascent of a little less than 7 miles took over 4 1/2 hours.

Going down was not easy ether. Again we were in snow, now softening under a warm June sun, one of the hottest and brightest days we had in the Sierras. The, now common, afternoon buildup of clouds was very light today and the sun was hot enough to get in a brief dip in one of the ice filled lakes. Snow continued for several miles making our progress slow.

Many things conspire to keep us from moving very fast. The altitude sucks the breath out of our lungs so we stop occasionally to get it back. The soft snow mixes with mud to bog down our feet. But mainly the scenery itself slows us down, demanding frequent stops for photos or to just simply gaze at and admire what is all around us to our sides and to our backs. This series of basins dropping into the Evolution Valley is a special place requiring extra time to pause and admire the ways in which its own beauty evolves as we walk forward.

This leaves me to wonder how many times we miss a spectacular view because we were too busy to look back. Just as pictures don’t really do justice to the incredible beauty of these, or any, mountains, so too does a one way hike do an injustice to all that these mountains have to offer. A return trip in the opposite direction would be the only way to get a full sense of place. And, a full day to watch the changing light would be the only way to witness all the forms these scenes have to offer. But, we can’t just sit still on this trio for very long. A few extra short breaks will have to do. We will need to push much harder now to make the afternoon ferry to our next resupply tomorrow. Instead, we decide to take our time and catch a morning boat on the following day. Spending an extra night out will allow us to savor this afternoon, although later on it will mean a rather lean dinner of soup and snacks.

Dropping into the Evolution Valley’s bottom land and it’s incredible meadows brings us back to the masses of mosquitoes. There are always prices to pay for experiencing such beauty.

McClure Meadows has the best views, but we push on another 3 miles to camp at Evolution Meadows and set ourselves up for the next ford and the next pass which tomorrow will bring. Today’s hike has been only 18 miles, very tiring, but very rewarding.

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

CDT2010_TheTrailCDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_NMWC-1Cliff Dwelling SignCarrot PausesHiker TanCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115Carrot takes a PhotoCarrot on the TrailCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot takes a Trail BathCarrot on the Trail still

Scenic Shots

CDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-valleyCliff Dwelling Carrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicStream Distant HillsCactus & HillsPrickly PearJeep Road

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersFloraButterfly 2BeaverFloraFlora 3Angry MarmotButterfly