"June 21st. Summer Solstice, longest day of the year! And Happy Father's Day to George P. and George B. We celebrated the solstice by hiking from sun-up to sun-down, 6:20am to 8:20pm, minus a 45-minute coffee break and an hour for lunch. Almost 23 miles, even with a 4,000 foot elevation gain, and Muir Pass with its 5 miles of snow. It was a good day.
It started out early as mentioned, and it was tough to get out of bed due to a late night the night before. Within a mile after starting, we saw our first black bear of the hike. Quite exciting, but we scared him away before being able to snap a pic. He was beautiful though. Lots of deer too, during the first 3 miles down to 8,000 feet, to Middle Fork Kings River. We then made a right and headed north up Le Conte Canyon. We stopped for a coffee break, something we've enjoyed doing not while breaking down camp the last 2 days, around 8:15 on top of a gigantic rock with an amazing view of the river and a cascade.
Then it was time to get the boots moving, and climb 4,000 feet to Muir Pass, obviously named after Mr. John Muir. We didn't hit snow until just under 11,000 feet, but it was a long long long gradual climb up to 12K. It took us over 2 hours, to cover probably 2 1/2 miles. We made it though, and broke for lunch at 2:30 at the stone hut atop the Pass. There was a resident marmot inside the hut. By 3:40 we were headed west from the Pass, across a couple more miles of snow, still under blue blue skies that we had all day again. Amazing, the difference in weather since we left Whitney. We pushed on late, and found a great spot to camp, build a fire, and dry out our boots. 30 miles to VVR."