Muir Trail Ranch – 866
I was up bright and early for some breakfast time hot springs soaking. A prelim for a day of being wet!
First there was crossing the river back from the hot springs. That guide rope, I’m not sure how I feel about that thing. I think I like using my poles better.
Then there was the Christmas surprise of the hiker boxes at Muir Trail Ranch. Hikers spend big bucks to send buckets of resupply. The buckets have to get carried in by mule train. They’re big Home Depot sized buckets, way too much food to fit in anyone’s bear can. So then they give away a ton of awesome stuff and cheapo hikers like me get to resupply for free! The woman working the hiker bunkhouse told me she was a teacher in real life. Muir Ranch has cabins and a lot of horses. A pack of friendly dirty dogs hang around the corral, to make sure no horses go out unescorted. Also a pair of teenager-ish kittens darted around, too wild really to hold but fun to watch. And all sorts of hikers, a bunch of people I’ve met before. It was fun to catch up, talk about food. A couple dudes had sent themselves liquor and were passing around fancy looking bottles for a snort to start the day!
Muir ranch is apparently in a deep crevasse because hiking out with all those goodies was the most painful uphill climb. Yogi calls Seldon “the easy pass.” Maybe if I wasn’t carrying quite so much hoarded loot. Maybe if it hadn’t started raining. And then hailing.
First just little ones. About tic tac sized. When they got up to M&M sized, they started to hurt. The ground was covered with little white balls of ice. The forest looked like a huge bean bag had exploded, coating everything with little styrofoam balls.
Interspersed with hail, lots more rain fell. I had on my rain jacket and pack cover. Then I found a big tree to shelter beneath and dig out my rain pants. Which are huge. It’s nice that I can pull them up over my fanny pack, but sometimes they fall down when I walk.
I was still walking uphill and, meanwhile, the path and forest turned into waterslides. Any small steams were flooded over their banks. Keeping my feet out of the water was impossible. It was wild to see how fast the water started flowing all over the place. I went by several large ponds that I’m certain were campsites an hour before. Imagine if you were camping and that happened!
The rain did start to let up after awhile. I saw other hikers setting up tents. It was still early enough to make it over the pass. Even though it was still lightly raining, it was a lovely walk up. And not even above the tree line, so a minimum of stomping around on all those big boulders.
I got to the lakes on the other side when the sun finally came out. I set up a clothesline and tried to dry what I could before the sun set.
I deserved a luxury meal after such a hectic day. The directions said to let it soak for 20 minutes, longer at altitude. During the soak, I tucked the bag into my shirt to take full advantage of the warmth. That was pretty cozy. The bibimbap itself, it was okay. Just sort of spicy rice with veggie bits. It was substantial enough, that’s for sure.