Select Page

PCT Day 158 – A Surprise at the Muir Hut

Last updated Feb 17, 2020 | Published on Sep 29, 2017

It was so nice to awake without frost on my tent this morning. Sleeping at a lower elevation has its advantages. I really wanted to make it over Muir Pass today so I moved quickly this morning. Muir Pass is the last of the major passes in the Sierras near or over 12000 feet and will be the last time that I’m at such a high elevation on this hike.

Middle Fork of the Kings River

I hiked a mile down to an elevation of 8000 feet and then spent most of the day climbing uphill, following the Middle Fork of the Kings River to its source. It was another hot, cloudless day and this time I put sunscreen on my face and on the back of my hands, and I put a bandanna under my hat to protect my neck from the sun.

Hello Deer!

Looks like Bear Poo to Me

Heading Up Towards Muir Pass

It was a long hike uphill, climbing 4000 feet in elevation. The Kings River spilled down rock faces into spectacular waterfalls as it flowed down the mountain. I climbed up to a lovely meadow and spent lunch there while I rinsed out some of my clothing.

This is a cool bridge

Wildflowers in September!

After lunch I kept climbing until I reached the tree line. There the scenery changed and I was in a world of granite cliffs, alpine lakes and snowfields. I climbed higher and discovered another alpine lake and then another, each one higher than the last. The highest lake is named Helen Lake after one of John Muir’s daughters.

The mountains surrounding the trail have the most snow on them than any of the others I’ve traversed so far. It was absolutely stunning – my favorite pass in the Sierras so far.

After I reached the highest lake, I kept climbing up some switchbacks and soon the Muir Hut came into view. I lost the trail under some snow but climbed across the rocks straight towards the hut. It was really windy on top and I put on some extra layers while I took in the view. The inside of the hut was bare and empty, but provided some shelter from the wind.

Muir Hut!

Inside the Ceiling of the Muir Hut

I was about to head down from the top of the pass when Mongoose (Elise) and Gilligan (Sevie) came into view, hiking southbound. What a happy surprise! I hiked with Elise and Sevie for a week back in the desert just prior to Wrightwood. It was so nice to see them again. So I stayed an extra hour at the hut with them, catching up.

Gilligan, Me, and Mongoose

Gilligan, Mongoose, and Friend

It was 5:00 when I began my descent from Muir Pass, and already beginning to get cold. I made it as far as Evolution Lake when it began to get dark so I set up my tent. I was still at an elevation of 10800 feet so it was going to be a cold night.

Camped for the Night by Evolution Lake

PCT 2017 Stats

PCT Day 158 – Monday, September 18
Mile 826.3 to Evolution Lake Mile 843

PCT Miles Hiked Today: 16.7
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1713.3
Feet Ascended Today: 4203
Feet Descended Today: 1723
Current Elevation: 10874
Steps: 56708

For more on my experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, visit my Pacific Crest Trail Blog page.

Archive of Previous Posts

Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


  1. oscar

    Amazing!!, at the moment I write these letters, you will be near the town of Mammoth lakes, in 2013 I made the section of the pct from Agnew Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows, it was incredible although it was only a small part of the pct, it will be wonderful to read your blog that part of the trail to remember that walk. Greetings and take care of yourself. On August 10, 2017 I was with my children and my wife in Tuolumne Meadows campground, every year we are there for a few days, we meet with some pct hikers to greet them, I only remember the name of one of them is Doctor fly from Germany, my daughter asked for you, and a big coincidence that Doctor fly was with you at Lone Pine when they all left for Ashland Oregon, my daughter was happy and excited, she’s only 10 years old and she already plans to do the PCT trail or the JMT someday. Greetings and take good care of yourself.

  2. Mike O'Connor

    I’ve been reading your blog since the beginning and have followed your progress thru good times & bad. I am planning a PCT thru hike in 2019 when I retire and would love to discuss logistics with you when you finish your awesome journey. You have truly inspired me and I can’t wait to get into the wilderness again.
    God bless you and “Happy Trails”!


I want to hear from you! Leave your comment below: