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