Welcome to the Evolution Valley--one of the gems at the heart of the Sierra Nevada and the John Muir Trail. I'm stretching the Valley up into the Evolution Basin--the whole drainage of Evolution Creek. It's a 15.3 mile stretch of the JMT--a long day's hike, if you are crazy enough to hurry through (that's one reason I've been rethinking my desire to do a through-hike: I want to linger in the good places. The need to do 20-mile days means you can run through some of the best spots in the middle of single day).
The explorers who first entered the valley (while scouting a route more or less along the Sierra Crest that eventually became the JMT--and the PCT) named it, and the mountains that pushed them into the valley, after the great early evolutionary thinkers because--it just seemed right to them? By any name, it is well worth the lengthy hike to get there!
|Looking down on the upper part of the lower valley, if that makes sense! Photo is taken from the edge of the Darwin Bench.|
|Looking down from the Darwin Bench to Evolution Lake|
|Evolution Lake--the heart of the Evolution Valley.|
|To my surprise, even in September there were some flowers. At these elevations, plants waste none of the snow-free months!|
|Looking back from the top end--just below Wanda Lake, and seeing only the jagged ridge that defines the east side of the Valley.|
|Wanda Lake at sunrise. Still not dead calm, but beautiful in the low light. The change of drainage is at Muir Pass, just off the picture to the left.|
|Immense white-bark pine in the Evolution Valley|
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2015