Day 50: Sunday, June 23

Tenting near a raging stream (895.9), walked 22.8 miles today

Woke up and had the morning to myself, including a descent into the spectacular Vermillion Valley (no good pictures, trees always partially obscured the view) until getting to the trail junction to Vermillion Valley Resort at about 10. Saw a couple of PCTers there straggling out from the morning ferry ride, none of whom I'd met before, all of whom I liked right away: Two Bad Dogs, who are an older couple; 30-somethings named Headstand and One Pint, whose relationship was indeterminate; and Muk-Muk from Australia, with whom I hiked a long time today (I neglected to tell her of the torrid correspondence I used to have with an entirely different Muk-Muks ...). Climbed and descended Silver Pass chatting with her about this and that. She ended a food break about 5 minutes before me in the afternoon and I didn't see her again for a few hours until I got to this campsite, at which she was cooking dinner and then planning to hike on into the night to Reds Meadow because she temporarily is without a tent and the weather is sub-optimal for cowboy camping tonight. Thought about pushing on myself, especially once The Messenger caught up and said he had the same Reds Meadow plan, but then I remembered that 35-mile days just aren't necessary now that I'm out of the desert. It's the Sierra, I don't have to do that shit anymore.

It was brisk and grey the entire day, in marked contrast to just about every other day on the PCT so far. Liked it for two reasons, one being that I don't really enjoy monotonous weather patterns, even if they're pleasant (it's worse if they're unpleasant. See: the Pacific Northwest), and so this was a nice change. Other perk was that it mostly kept the mosquitos away. The two lakes from this afternoon, Virginia and Purple Lakes, had a totally different character about them than I'm sure they would have if it had been just another 75-degree sunny day. After Purple Lake walking a ridge there was very brief, very light precipitation that could have been anything--somewhere between snow and rain. The whole day I was looking at the clouds thinking they looked like snow clouds, but that the temperature was just too warm for snow, but now I'm not so sure ... It's quite nippy and windy at this site ... Snow tonight? June 23? I've seen a video of it snowing on hikers at Sonora Pass on July 1, so it's possible. We'll see in the morning.