Le Conte to Lake “11092” Frances
We wake and return to our trail Stairmaster. Muir Pass is our first target. Roper describes it as the only place on the entire High Route where you cannot see any trees or plants. This of course means every time we walk by a tree or plant, we know we are not anywhere near the pass, nor can we even see it from here.
There are hordes of people enjoying the landscape, so it is clear we are on a major scenic trail. Mindless “How are you doing?”s are responded to with equally mindless “Great, isn’t it beautiful?”s.
We pass beautiful Helen Lake, named after one of John Muir’s daughters. Later we will pass not nearly as beautiful Wanda Lakes, named after another of John’s daughters. She must have been the one with personality.
At the pass, we knock on the Muir Hut door, but John isn’t there. We were secretly hoping it had been converted to a Pizza Hut, as we are now starving most of the time.
We push on down the trail, with down being the key word. We stop at Evolution Lake for a rest and snack. We are about to leave the trail to traverse 3 miles to the lake known by its elevation”11092″, or as Roper refers to it, Frances. What Roper describes casually as a traverse across various ramps, turns into a thick forested obstacle course jungle of guesses and second guesses.
We eventually reach the lake, though the scramble is much more physically and mentally exhausting than anticipated. We have dinner to the sounds of howling coyotes at the base of Snow-Tongue Pass. Snow-Tongue is one of the scariest on the trip, and the coyotes are just setting the mood.