PCT: Day 245: Muir Pass: Day 2

Direction: Southbound
Trail location: 1827
Cumulative miles hiked 2019/2021: 2484
Cumulative miles hiked 2021: 467
Miles hiked today: 14.46
Elevation: 8383
High/low temp/humidity: 70/46/40
Spinning on the turntable: Pearl Jam: Gigaton

It’s very cold this morning, my fingers were numb. Maybe gloves with fingers would be a benefit…The old guys next to me start waking, farting and burping around 4AM. Grrrr…Just hush up until at least 5AM. I didn’t sleep worth a darn last night. It seemed like I was awake every hour or so. My hips are really bothering me at night. I’ve started doing night time stretches to try to help them calm down a bit.

The view from my tent

This is my view as I begin my morning hike towards Muir Pass/Muir Shelter. If you look really close, you can see Muir Hut. It’s just about 2.4 miles away. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it this morning! It gave me a focal point to concentrate on as I moved uphill.

I did laugh a little bit as I climbed. Just as I sometimes cast a wary eye towards older hikers, younger hikers also cast a wary eye at me! This morning a young fellow was not going to let me pass him. I didn’t care. I honestly don’t try to pass anyone. If I happen to pass you, it’s not because I’m trying to pass you for the heck of it. If I’m hiking faster than you, I’ll pass you. If not, I won’t. I really don’t care, but I can tell that it does bother younger hikers when I’m about to pass them. Suddenly they have a burst of speed and move further up the hill.

The dome is peeking over the hill

It was kind of magical to hike towards the Muir Hut at sunrise. To me, the Muir Hut symbolized the PCT. I can’t imagine saying that I hiked the PCT without saying that I went to Muir Hut. Soon enough, I was at the hut.

There are moments in life that you know you’ll never repeat. This was one of those moments. I don’t expect that I’ll ever return to Muir Pass and Muir Hut again. (Frankly, if I seriously considered it, my ankles and knees might have some strong words for me.)

I may have sat inside the hut for 30 minutes. Contemplating, reflecting and rejoicing in the moment.

The hut is open for hikers who get caught in bad weather and need shelter. There are no amenities other than a roof, walls, and shelter from a storm. I spoke with another hiker who was working his way north on the PCT. He and his daughter attempted a thru-hike in 2019. He tossed in the towel one day past Kennedy Meadows South, and she threw in the towel one day after that. Too much snow.

It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to be at Muir Hut and how many folks would trade their eye teeth to be in my position. I am grateful to be here.

Heading down the other side (South) of Muir Pass was very difficult. The trail (if we can call it that) was very, very rocky. When I think “trail” I tend to think in terms of dirt. This trail down is just pure rocks. Without question, it’s really hurting my feet. I’m try to make sure that I’m not stepping on a sharp rock because I can feet the point right through my shoes. (Oh boots, where art thou?)

Mentally, anytime I see a downhill on the map, I assume that my speed will significantly increase from the uphill speed. Not so on the Muir downhill. I did not make good speed, at all. Yet, after four or five passes, I’m starting to believe that even if a pass completely sucks, I’ll still make it over the pass. It may take me a long time, but I will get over it. So the trail may suck at this moment, but I’ll still get through it. The trail down from Muir pass was roughly ten miles. Summary: Ouch!

I camped for the night around 9,000 feet after the long downhill. Tomorrow I’ll head back uphill and tackle Mather Pass.


  1. Heidi Halverson

    Never heard of Muir cabin or hut. It seems nice. Not sure I understand the significance of hut build to honor Muir if he didn’t ever spend time there or go there. Just a building built out of rocks made by ppl with money. Nice location. Like all real estate: location, location, location. Congrats.

    John Muir lived in Yosemite for years(?) I would think there might be cabin there. We saw cabin teddy roosevelt lived in up in ND at teddy roosevelt natl park. It had his desk and other personal stuff.

  2. Phil McCracken

    Pretty important milestone. The keystone in the Sierra arch.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *