Mile reached: 863.7 (+19.3)
High: Walking through the Evolution Valley without seeing a soul.
Low: The mosquitoes were out almost everywhere!
Thanks to Mount Darwin it was going to be a while before the sun would reach my campsite. I patiently waited, but gave up around seven.
The morning quickly became the most beautiful on the trail so far. From my perch above the valley, the trail descended rapidly to the valley floor and then followed Evolution Creek for miles. Since I had camped so close to the pass, there was no one else around, and so I saw deer on the trail. Evolution Creek is appropriately named, and its turquoise waters meander though meadows teeming with life. These meadows, of course, are also teeming with mosquitoes as I discovered during breakfast.
The big obstacle for the day was fording Evolution Creek. I opted to use the alternate ford, which is in a meadow rather than the official trail crossing. The stakes were low since the flow was gentle. But, I was still up to my thighs in frigid meltwater, and my toes went numb just halfway across. My shorts didn’t get wet though!
After leaving Evolution Valley, none of the scenery for the rest of the day could compare. The trail lost elevation following the South Fork of the San Joaquin River, and the vegetation became much drier. Though, there were groves of Aspen, which looked out of place amidst the pines.
The afternoon concluded with a dry and exposed 2,300 foot climb up towards the last of the major passes, Selden Pass. Above 10,000 feet, I found a campsite on the shore of a picturesque lake loaded with trout. It killed me to not have a rod, because I could see numerous 8+ inch fish swimming around. As a consolation I had the company of hordes of mosquitoes while I cooked dinner.