JMT: Senger Creek to Evolution Lake

JMT: Senger Creek to Evolution Lake

Day 9 – 20.6 miles, 3700 ft ascent.

I slept well after the long day. I had some breakfast, packed up camp, and headed toward Muir Trail Ranch for my resupply. I was only a few miles from MTR, and it was all downhill. I ate my last Snickers bar on the just before I arrived. So far, my food planning was spot on.

The tops of granite mountains are lit up by the sun.
Sunrise over the mountains

If you’re planning on resupplying at MTR, it’s worth noting that they do not have public restrooms for hikers.

At MTR, I got my bucket and put my battery pack and watch charging. The 20,000 mAh Anker power brick I had would take some time to charge. Fortunately, I had a dual-port USB-C charger that supported fast charging over USB-C, which helped get me topped up while I was sorting out my food.

Several buckets in a row on a bench, containing hiker snacks and other essentials.
MTR resupply area. The orange buckets are hiker boxes.

I went a bit overboard with the hiker boxes. I found a bunch of Starbucks VIA coffee, some beef sticks, and Pro Bars that I added to my resupply. I also found an odor-proof Opsak bag, which came in handy as my bear can was filled to the brim with food. Not a chance I could fit any other smellies in it.

My pack weighed 32 lbs on the way out. That’s twice what it weighed before the resupply. It felt like carrying a bag of rocks.

Low brush covering the ground, a tall mountain in the background.
The trail out from MTR.

After heading out from MTR, I followed the South fork of the San Joaquin river towards Kings Canyon. The river flowed strong and cold, forming large turquoise pools where it calmed down.

A sign noting that I'm entering Kings Canyon National park
A deep pool of water in a river gorge.
South Fork San Joaquin River

The trail continued through a narrow canyon with tall granite walls on either side before crossing the river and heading up to Evolution Valley.

Evolution Valley was one of the most beautiful places yet on my trip. Evolution Creek meandered through big open meadows with feeding deer.

Mountain landscape looking down a valley
Spectacular views
A meadow with small pine trees in the foreground and tall granite mountains in the background.
Looking up Evolution Valley

I would have enjoyed the valley longer, but the mosquitoes were eating me up alive any time I stopped for more than 10 seconds. But maybe it was for the better as I wanted to get to Evolution Lakes, which meant I still had many miles ahead of me.

The whole day since MTR had been a gradual ascent. As a final push, the trail steepened for a final 800-foot climb before I got to Evolution Lake. The mountains surrounding Evolution Lake were impressive.

A mountain landscape with trees below and bare granite mountain sides above
Leaving the trees behind as I’m climbing up to Evolution Lake
A view of the trail on the left side of Evolution Lake with mountains on both sides.
Evolution Lake

There were a few campsites right on top of the climb, but I continued a bit further towards the inlet. I’m glad I kept going because the site was one of the most spectacular I had on the entire trip.

I rinsed off my clothes and fished for a while. I even caught a few beautiful golden trouts.

A mountain wall lit up by sunshine.
Looking North from my campsite.

As the sun went behind the mountain to the West, it lit up the granite wall made up of Mount Darwin and Mount Mendel. The sunset was out of this world. The last rays of the sun lit up the wisps of cloud in a bright shade of pink, making them look like northern lights.

The last rays of sun hitting a mountain wall.
The sunset was lighting up the mountains.
Pink clouds reflecting off the lake surface.
Northern lights?

The mosquitoes were out in force, so I retreated to my tent to listen to a podcast. I nearly crapped my pants when I got up to go pee the last time, as I saw two eyes reflecting back at me 30 feet away. Turns out, it was a deer that had crept up on my campsite to check out if I had anything good it could chew on.

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