The John Muir Trail in Pictures: Part 2 of 4

Start­ing the sec­ond week on the John Muir Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilder­ness. Leav­ing Yosemite means few­er peo­ple, fur­ther into the wilder­ness. It is now the longest back­pack­ing trip I’ve done. Through Mam­moth, pass­ing Reds Mead­ow and onto Ver­mil­lion Val­ley Resort, a haven for backpackers.

Day 8: Thousand Island Lake

Banner Peak, Thousand Island Lake

Ban­ner Peak, Thou­sand Island Lake

The high­light of today is Ban­ner Peak (Mount Rit­ter behind) and Thou­sand Island Lake. A clas­sic view made famous by Ansel Adams’ 1923 pho­to­graph. I thought it appro­pri­ate to make this a black and white image as well.

Walk­ing alone I talk to my cam­era. “Do you know where thou­sand island dress­ing comes from?” I say with a smirk, before point­ing the cam­era towards the lake. “Thou­sand Island Lake” laugh­ing at my own corny joke.

Day 9: Reds Meadow

Devils Postpile, Reds Meadow

Dev­ils Post­pile, Reds Meadow

Through the for­est on the way to Reds Mead­ow. Hexag­o­nal columns of basalt at Dev­ils Post­pile, formed from cool­ing lava flow about a hun­dred thou­sand years ago. These columns are unusu­al­ly sym­met­ri­cal, occur­ring only in a few places around the world. To this day This entire area around Mam­moth in the East­ern Sier­ra is still active volcanically.

Reds Mead­ow was a good place to have a meal and take a show­er before hit­ting the trail again.

Day 10: Cascade Valley, Squaw Lake

Cascade Valley, John Muir Trail

Cas­cade Valley

Star Trails over Squaw Lake

Star Trails over Squaw Lake


Day 11: Silver Pass, to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR)

Dawn at Squaw Lake

Dawn at Squaw Lake

Squaw Lake Sunrise, JMT

Squaw Lake Sunrise


Day 12: VVR Zero Day

A Zero Day is a day of rest. Ver­mil­lion Val­ley Resort was the per­fect place for a Zero Day. A back­pack­er haven where (if you’re a through-hik­er) your first beer is free. They used to pro­vide free accom­mo­da­tion (pri­vate rooms) for through-hik­ers as well. That was until 2 guys got piss drunk and thought it would be fun to pee all over the room.

Today is the day that I dis­cov­ered Boots McFar­land. A hilar­i­ous, high­ly relat­able car­toon strip by Geolyn Carvin. If you’re a hik­er I high­ly rec­om­mend you check out her web­site for some good laughs.

Boots McFarland by Geolyn Carvin

Boots McFar­land by Geolyn Carvin


Day 13: VVR to Bear Ridge

It was a late start in the day. Hey, can you blame me, I had to recov­er. These lit­tle hik­er out­posts where you can eat good food, drink beer, show­er and talk for hours to oth­er hik­ers, can get pret­ty addict­ing. Sit­ting around all day eat­ing lotus flow­ers. I’ve heard sto­ries of hik­ers set­tling in and giv­ing up their dreams of through hik­ing the Pacif­ic Crest Trail to work at one of these out­posts. Not me, I had to put down the lotus flow­ers and get my boots back on the trail! Onto Bear Ridge and the infa­mous “Inter­minable Switch­backs” as it was described in the guide, not a good moti­va­tion to get away from the beer, show­ers and lotus flowers.

I did­n’t have any spec­tac­u­lar sun­sets, just a hike across the now dry Lake Edi­son (late in the sea­son) and back onto the John Muir Trail. Here is anoth­er com­ic strip of Boots McFarland.

Boots McFarland by Geolyn Carvin

Boots McFar­land by Geolyn Carvin

That’s pret­ty much me when I took off my pack after a food resupply.

Day 14: Up Bear Ridge to Marie Lake

The day start­ed with the seem­ing­ly end­less switch­backs of Bear Ridge, fol­lowed by a pleas­ant stroll along Bear Creek. I went for a dip. Refresh­ing but oh so cold!

Marie Lake, JMT

Marie Lake, JMT

Marie Lake Camp, JMT

Camp­site views at Marie Lake


Check out Week 1 on the John Muir Trail here.

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