Day 20: Sapphire lake to Dusy basin. 15 miles, 8000 feet of elevation change
We slept on a carpet of grass behind a huge slab of granite under the cathedral peak, Mt. Huxley. On the opposite side of the lake from the JMT, we were isolated from the many groups surrounding the lake. As well, we were protected from the wind. We woke up, like we do every morning, ready for another day. One never really knows as the first birds start to sing and the sun makes it self known, what the day will hold, if it will be one of those rare days that stands out from all the rest or if it will fade into the blur that creates our past. Today, as it turns out, was the former kind.
In stunned awe, the last thing that crossed my mind was to take a photo, and yet, what I was looking at was the single most amazing thing I had ever discovered on my own. As I stood waiting for Cory to take a morning photo of the outlet of Sapphire lake as it poured out under the watchful gaze of Mt Huxley, I looked down and saw a two inch footprint with 4 or 5 skinny claws embedded in the granite rock. There were three other prints, with various parts smudged.
My first thought was “When they poured this concrete, some animal must have run over the cement before it set…” and then I stopped short and realized I might be staring at ancient history, for this was no cement slab I was standing on – I was on a granite rock, and those were footprints of an animal I did not recognize.
But like so much of what is seen and experienced out here, there is no way to capture fully the sights, sounds, smells, and essence of what it is to be immersed in the wilderness.
Today, we challenged ourselves with a 15-mile goal. If we could climb Muir Pass, head 7 miles down Laconte Canyon and them climb 3000 ft up unto Dusy basin, we’d knock an entire night off our trip. It would take all day to realize this goal.
We head out from Dusy Basin to South Lake where Nana and Papa will be to shuttle us to our truck so we can resupply and continue on for 60 more miles to our final destination.