JMT, Day 7: Resupply in Onion Valley

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Bushcamp to Onion Valley Trailhead, 7.6 miles

We set our alarm on Matt’s iPhone to make certain that we don’t oversleep this morning. We have 7.6 miles to hike before we get picked up by Strider at the Onion Valley trailhead at 12:30 pm. If we are late, we will have to hitchhike into Independence on our own, and we are hoping that won’t happen. We wake up at 5:00 am and are on the trail by 6:30. (more…)

JMT, Day 6: Up and Over Forester Pass!

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Day 6: Forester Pass to Bush Camp, 11.1 miles

Despite camping so high, it is surprisingly warm during the night, and we sleep well. We wake up at 6 am and break camp. Just as we are about ready to leave, the morning sun lights up the mountains behind the tarn, and we spend a good hour photographing the peaks and their reflections in the water below. We don’t want to leave, but we have a big day ahead of us, and we need to get going. (more…)

JMT, Day 5: The Magnificent Mile

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Crabtree Meadow to Forester Pass, camping at 12,700 feet, 14.1 miles

We wake up early and break camp pretty efficiently before hitting the trail at 7:30. Today we will tackle Forester Pass, one of the JMT’s most formidable, and we are hoping to camp as close as possible to it tonight. The first several miles are through Foxtail Pine forest and look very similar to many of the miles we have walked so far.  We cross a few streams (Wallace and Wright Creek) without any trouble and then finally begin a big climb up to Bighorn Plateau. (more…)

JMT, Day 4: Summiting Mt. Whitney

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Guitar Lake>Summit> Guitar Lake>Crabtree Meadows5.0 to the summit + 5.0 back to Guitar Lake + 2.7 to Crabtree Meadows = 12.7 total

By the time we wake up and get going, most everyone camping at Guitar Lake has cleared out. We are impressed that so many people broke camp without waking us up. We pack only our essentials and hit the trail by 5:45 am. It’s 3.1 miles to the junction at Trail’s Crest, and we are eager to get going. The sun is already up, but the basin of mountains surrounding us is blocking the sun’s rays, and it’s a chilly start. (more…)

JMT, Day 3: Up, Down, Up, Down and on to Guitar Lake

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Rock Creek Crossing to Guitar Lake, 11,500′, 11.8 miles

I slept in my sleeping bag liner last night. I stayed warm and managed to get some much-needed sleep. We are up and moving by 6:15 am and do well with packing up quickly, that is until the park ranger stationed nearby comes to chat with us. Of course, we can’t help ourselves and spend a good half-hour talking to her. It’s now 8:30 by the time we hit the trail. We pass several other camping spots on our way done to Rock Creek that would have been more private, but then we probably would not have seen the deer or met Susan and the nice guys from Team Alabama. (more…)

JMT, Day 2: Up and Over New Army Pass

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Lake Two>Rock Creek Crossing, 12.0 miles

It’s a little chilly overnight, and I do not get a solid night’s sleep. I have my watch alarm set for 6:00 am, but it doesn’t go off, or at least we don’t hear it. The sun rises and begins to warm up the tent, and, after finally falling into a deep sleep, I wake up because it is too hot. I am playing possum in my sleeping bag when I hear a distinct drip! drip! drip! sound inside the tent. We are camped close to water, and, with the warmth of the sun, all of the condensation on the tent fly is beading up, and it is actually raining inside the tent. Uh oh, time to get up! (more…)

JMT, Day 1: Setting Off with a Surprise!

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4-hour Drive from Lee Vining to Cottonwood Meadows
Cottonwood Meadows>Lake Two, 6 miles

Our shuttle driver, Lone Pine Kurt, arrives at the Lake View Lodge at 8:00 am. I arranged a ride with him via email back in March when I learned that the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority buses don’t run on weekends/holidays. Just our luck, right? (more…)

JMT, Day 0: Lots and Lots of Logistics

It is July 3, and tomorrow we set off on our biggest backpacking trip ever, the John Muir Trail! We are both excited and nervous to get going. But, before we can step foot on the trail, we have so many last minute details we need to take care of. I know we shouldn’t complain—nobody ever said it would be easy to walk in the woods for 270 miles for over 3 weeks. If that’s the price of slipping away from real life for a while, it’s definitely worth the hassle. (more…)

Backpacking Colorado’s Chicago Basin, Day 3: Damp but Not Done Yet!

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It rains all night long, and it is still sprinkling at 6 am when we finally begin to stir. We pack up all that we can inside the tent and then head back to our dryish spot under the trees for breakfast. The tent is soaked! Once we are all packed up, we head down to the river to take a few shots of our lovely watering hole before hitting the trail to catch the train back to Durango. The train stops at Needleton on the way back to Durango at 3:55, so we take our time heading back down the trail trying to notice things that we might have missed when we were coming in the opposite direction. (more…)

Backpacking Colorado’s Chicago Basin, Day 2: Billy Goat’s Gruff

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Matt and I are eating breakfast admiring the view from our spectacular campsite when we suddenly hear the gallop of hoof steps fast approaching. I turn just in time to see a giant male goat charging at full speed right at me! I stand up just in the nick of time, and it barely swerves around our tent. Another goat is in hot pursuit, and the two gallop a mere five feet past us and out to the next rock ledge. Almost getting stampeded by two mountain goats sure is a memorable way to get your heart going in the morning! (more…)