JMT, Day 17: A Silver Beauty

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Day 17: Silver Pass Creek to Silver Pass to Duck Lake Outlet, 13.1 miles

We are camped about two miles and 1000’ below Silver Pass. We wake up early and hope to tackle the pass feeling refreshed and well rested. It’s another cold morning, so we don’t get out of camp as early as we hoped to, but we are on the trail by 7 am, and up we go! (more…)

JMT, Day 16: A Bear of a Trail

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Bear Creek Meadow to Silver Pass Creek, 14 miles

Breakfast is the least satisfying meal for us when we are backpacking. For this trip we are basically rotating between oatmeal (yuck!), rehydrated bean burritos (OK once in a while), and ProBar Meal Bars (tasty, but not hot). Today we decide to switch it up and go for instant mashed potatoes. It’s really cold this mornimng, and they are really hot and taste good to us. I like the change, but we both know we’ll be hungry again soon.
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JMT, Day 15: The Second Half Begins

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Muir Trail Ranch to Seldon Pass to Bear Creek, 10.5 miles

We don’t wake up until 6, and we decide to stop back by MTR to drop off last night’s trash and fill up on some spring water before hitting the trail. In the first mile of today’s climb, we gain 700 feet, and then it’s up more switchbacks from there for most of the rest of the morning. Now that we are out of Kings Canyon and Sequoia, we are done with the big elevation. We only have 5 passes to cross over the next 110 miles, and the tallest is just over 11,000 feet. (more…)

JMT, Day 14: Resupply at Muir Trail Ranch

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Evolution Lake to Muir Trail Ranch, 16+ miles

Today is Resupply Day! We are headed to Muir Trail Ranch, and we have to get there by 5 pm to get our bucket of food that we mailed from Chicago back in June. Only problem is that MTR is 16 miles from where we are now at Evolution Lake, and that’s a long way for us to go, especially under a deadline. We are hoping we’ll make it, but, if not, we’ll just camp nearby and pick up our cache the next morning. (more…)

JMT, Day 13: Magical Muir Pass

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Big Pete Meadow to Muir Pass to Evolution Lake, 11.6 miles

We set off bright and early for Muir Pass this morning, and our guidebook says it is our last big pass of the John Muir Trail, so we are pretty pumped for it. We have about 2500′ of elevation yet to gain, and it starts right out of the gate. As we climb up, the Middle Fork of the Kings River tumbles down violently beside us. (more…)

JMT, Day 12: A Long Slog (My Birthday)

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Upper Palisade Lake to above Big Pete Meadow, 16.2 miles

We get an early start photographing this morning. Matt saw a few waterfalls up the trail on the way in last night, and he wants to shoot them before we take off this morning. The first is no problem but there are a couple of tents set up right next to the second, prettier one. It’s just after 7 in the morning, but the people are still asleep when we first come up. We are not anywhere close to them, but they start to stir while we are there, and we feel a little awkward for invading their space. Oh well… (more…)

JMT, Day 11: Another Day, Another Pass

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Lake Marjorie to Mather Pass to Upper Palisade Lake, 11.9 miles

Today we will cross 12,100’ Mather Pass, which is about 8 miles from our camp above Lake Marjorie, so it’s another morning of get up and go. We have oatmeal (our favorite … not!) for breakfast, and the only thing that makes it tolerable is the fact that we are sitting on the rock shelf above our tent enjoying the great view of Lake Marjorie while eating it. I think I could probably tolerate anything with a view like this. (more…)

JMT, Day 10: Our Hardest Day Yet!

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Dollar Lake to Pinchot Pass to Lake Marjorie, 14.2 miles

We wake up at 5 am to get an early start on what we already know will be a challenging day. We are on the trail before 7, but we start off the day with a big descent on our way to the Suspension Bridge at Woods Creek. Over the next 4.1 miles, we drop nearly 1700’, and our legs are not happy about it. I feel really awkward as we move along, and it occurs to me that it’s because we are starting with a downhill right out of the gate. Going uphill is definitely a nicer way to warm up the muscles in my book, but that’s not the plan on this day. (more…)

JMT, Day 9: Over Glen Pass and Beyond Rae Lakes

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Charlotte Lake to Dollar Lake, 8.5 miles

We both slept solidly last night, and it is hard to get moving at 6 when the alarm goes off. We are eager to get to Rae Lakes, so we reluctantly get moving and hit the trail by 8. First comes the 1.5 mile/600’ climb out of Charlotte Lake and back to the main trail. We hop back on the JMT at Sandy Junction, and soon we are hiking up high above Charlotte Lake and last night’s campsite. We also catch a glimpse of Charlotte Dome (at least we think) where last night’s neighbors are climbing today. Matt looks for them with his binoculars but cannot spot them yet. (more…)

JMT, Day 8: Back on the Trail

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Onion Valley to Charlotte Lake, 8.4 miles

Breakfast is at 7, and we are served fresh scrambled eggs, English muffins, coffee and tea—a welcome change from trail breakfast, which tends to be our least favorite meal in the backcountry. By 8 we are loading our packs into Strider’s SUV and heading back up the road to the Onion Valley trailhead, where we will retrace our steps up to Kearsarge Pass. (more…)