Evolution Valley Trek Report Addendum
by Chris Scott
[Editor's Note: Chris read my well written story about our trip through Evolution Valley and decided he should do one. This story is written in "Chris," a form of English that is caused by mixing an education at the U.S. Air Force Academy with too much alcohol. I can translate most Chris into English if anyone has any questions. Chris left this for me to put on the web with a note that said in part, "you edit and you're in dirt, man..." Consequently, this is not edited though I did write the captions on the pop-ups. You will see a larger version of most photos if you click on them. All links, except for those at the bottom of the page, open a photo in a new browser window. You might want to set your pop-up-killing software to allow pop-ups on this page. The thoughts (ok, they don't raise to the level of "thoughts" but you know what I mean) expressed in this article are purely those of Chris Scott. Sue him if you can find him. Here is a hint about where to find him. Don't look in New York, that's only where he lives. All photos on this page were taken by Chris, or with his camera, anyway. --Anstr Davidson, Editor]
First off, Anstr's report is as accurate and complete as any truths being thrown in both directions by the current pair of presidential candidates' campaigns. OK, that's not a fair statement, for surely Anstr's pictures provide congruent evidence about that which he wrote, which can't also be said about Kush and Berry. Here's more evidence of other truths from those six days...
To insure my two unwary and untrusting recruits (see Anstr's photo of Zoe and I looking at the map near Evolution Meadow on Day 2, and Anstr's concerns for my leadership there) didn't totally feel "lost" in the wilderness, I arranged with the Forest Service to helo in a likeness of C4P's Butt Crack Rock. I was a bit disappointed that neither of them stripped naked and tried to slip thru the crack to purge their sins, but also realized that even that strenuous hike up to and over Piute Pass wouldn't strip the body of enough pounds to slide thru even THAT crack. I made a note to self to talk with the Forest Service on point before leading my next batch of greenhorns into the Wilderness.
While there has been recent talk of how brutal the rocks are down from Signal Knob on the Massanutten Ring Trail, such wimpish drivel should be put in context with the tenfold advance of that issue evidenced by the picture below. This representative batch of boulders attacked us at about Mile 15 of our first day. The recruits' moods were not noticeably improved by this encounter with Nature. The hummus and tuna dinner, by contrast, did elevate their appreciation for being in the Wilderness and under my capable tutelage.
Though I was slammed for spilling precious bourbon, please note that what Anstr is drinking in this picture (and Zoe's quaffing the same brew...) looks slightly more yellow than the clear water that's passing over my feet in Darwin Creek. And while creatures downstream from my feet may have experienced some odd dreams from drinking the water that evening, you can be sure that Anstr and Zoe's dreams were more than enhanced from sloshing down that yellow swill. I only later joined in their bourbon drinking binge at our La Conte campsite to show social etiquette. I could argue that I "spilled" the bourbon to keep them from howling at the moon and embarrassing the VHTRC name, but that would suggest a holier-than-thou attitude, and I'm above such tactics. And while Anstr and Zoe drifted swirvingly to their tents before the sun disappeared in the West, I lingered to take in the alpenglow on the mountains we'd see the next day.
Because Zoe and Anstr were hung over from the previous evening's slosh-fest, I'd radioed ahead to the Forest Service to casually put up some "help" for the next day's trek to Wanda Lake. Several of these signs helped them distinguish forward from backward, up from down, and drinkable water from slightly appetizing mule deer poop. Although they'd been tricked into bypassing Sapphire Lake and climbing to Wanda, they were elated that we had reservations at the famous Ristorante Montagne, with seating at their finest table. The Haute Chef presented us with the finest lacka-ohtwo cuisine that side of the Continental Divide.
Sadly, the next day (#4), after cresting Muir Pass and making our way towards breathable air, it became clear that Herr Chef had the previous evening not fed us the advertised tuna, but instead substituted the mind-altering Sierra Twitch Frog. Zoe and Anstr must have spent at least 25 minutes contemplating this mountain Rorshach.... Later, sensing they'd been duped all along, the traitorous duo found ways to lash out at their leader when we were gathering wood for that evening's fire. How else could one account for this head wound that they blamed on "a tree unwilling to give up its dead branches"? Geez, was I looking forward to their suffering going up to Dusy Basin the next day!!
On our climb up on Day 5, I tried to convince them that the REAL trail went across those slippery rocks to the other side, but their suspicion was nearing a peak. To compensate, they were informed that Bishop Pass was only a couple hundred feet up the slope, and they made tracks to distance themselves from me (the ingrates!!). HA-A-A!! I got even by the Pass, as Zoe's pose proves (despite Anstr's similar shot of smiling faces suggesting otherwise). To further support my benevolent intent, please note that at dinner that night, I gladly shared my wine and whipped up a tantalizing batch of blueberry cheesecake. Can you imagine my relief when we finally exited the next day. Only with the proof of the photo below could I claim success at soldiering these two whiners through the Evolution Loop. Dang, I hope I don't have to do this with them again next year!!