John's 2001 JMT Journal   

  1. Pre-Trip 2. Kennedy Meadows to Mt. Whitney 5. Onion Valley to VVR
  3. Mt. Whiney to Onion Valley 6. VVR to Yosemite Valley
  4. Independence 7. Epilogue
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The Trail



PCT 2002

About Me



5. Onion Valley to Vermillion Valley Resort

Met Bailey, Drew, Sibex, & Dave today almost first thing in the morning. They'd slept in ? Meadows (below Bullfrog Lake), not something I'd wish on my worst enemy, at least with the number of bugs we experienced there. The seven of us [Brian(?) too] headed over Glen Pass which was a breeze. Brian broke off to go over to the next basin to the west (60 Lakes Basin?) where I was with the Geezers a few years ago. He knew about the Yellow Legged Frogs.
We camped 2/3s up Pinchot pass. Coming up kicked my ass. It was a very hard day for me not because of the terrain-it was just the Sierra on a nice day-but because I was out of energy. I didn't have enough fuel.
Everybody waited for me, but eventually gave up. I passed them eventually. I'd taken lunch just short of them and took a shorter lunch. Eventually, I ended up waiting for them and got in a good half-hour of yoga and some foot and hand care. My feet are doing amazingly well.
My hands are pretty bad but don't seem to be getting any worse. They hurt. Sibex stated the obvious and said I should put antibiotics on my hands and cover the blisters. Duh. He helped me bandage them up.
17.7 miles today

Two passes today: Pinchot & Mather. Still hiking w/ Lori Joy, Richard, Bailey & Drew and Dave. Sibex left a note for us at the top of Mather that he was moving on to keep an appointment he had to call his wife on their anniversary. I kicked butt on Mather. It's my kind of pass: an approach to a clearly visible pass and then a direct up and over.

The Golden Staircase is fantastic! Saw a bear using the trail below us. Richard used his noise maker to alert it to our presence, and it quickly found a way to avoid us. Still, I led the way because R & LJ had some trepidation about an encounter. I wonder if I will ever have an encounter with a bear that will put some fear back into me? Maybe not a good question to be asking. My first nights in the Sierra in my early 20s, I barely slept for fear of bears.
Problems w/ hands seems to not be getting worse. Decided to hike w/out poles today.
13 miles today

24.5 miles today

Muir Hut L->R: Dave, Drew,  Bailey, Lori Joy, Richard

Hiked w/ Dave, Bailey, Drew, Richard & Lori Joy for the morning along a beautiful river, but R & LJ are ahead of me tonight and Dave, Bailey, and Drew are behind me, I think. The boys went off to the hot springs near Muir Trail Ranch.
I left Richard & Lori Joy at lunch to get ahead to drop by Muir Trail Ranch to see if I could get some real food. I was gaining elevation more than I expected TOand got a little crazed because of not eating and uncertainty about water. Although I was on the trail, because I wasn't paying attention to time/distance, I wasn't sure where I was.
Finally I got to a junction, but misjudged it for another junction. Both led to Muir Trail Ranch. I started to go down but was losing all the elevation I'd just gained and wasn't able to keep my head clear. I expected it to be close, but I just kept on going. At some point I stopped, turned around, and went back to the JMT/PCT. I got water on my way and decided that I didn't like Muir Trail Ranch.
Did a huge uphill after that and had a solo dinner at a nice stream crossing. The boys pulled in and we had 15 minutes of overlap before I left. John from Oregon arrived just as I left.
Near a double lake below (?) Pass (Heart lake is on the south side), John from Oregon caught up with me. He was stopping to fix dinner and we chatted for a bit. I'd seen him earlier and glimpsed him behind me for a few miles. He caught my eye, but I continued up the pass hoping to find LJ & R, who had planned to camp just before or just after the pass.
I've gotten symmetrical blisters on my feet in the area of my sole just behind the gap between my big toe and first toe. They are big and deep and kill with every step.
I was pretty whuped going up to the pass. I was frazzled from not eating correctly, the climbs I did, the uncertainty of where R & LJ were. I pushed on with no sign of LJ & R.
I decided that I'd find a good spot at Marie Lakes and camp.
On the edge of darkness, my stumblings brought me to Peripatetic Pancakes with Gavin & Tim. It was like a bit of Burning Man and a bit of Fellini in the wilderness of the Sierra. They gave me hot tea on the slightly windy night, cool from clearness. They had 50 pounds of pancake mix, real maple syrup, and butter and were making pancakes for all comers. They were a little disappointed when I told them I didn't eat wheat, dairy, or sugar. They said that R & LJ had had their fill and moved on. I wouldn't be catching up for a while.
I set up a little home and just as I was going to sleep, I heard/sensed John passing. I called out to him that this was the place to stop. He was having trouble locating a sleeping spot in the dark and I suggested my second choice. I zonked out.

20.2 miles today

Awoke w/ the Pancake Brothers, Gavin & Tim on Marie lakes. It wasn't an illusion that I'd hiked into last night. I looked to see how John from Oregon City had fared and saw him sleeping half sitting up. I guess there was a reason the site I suggested to him was my second choice: it was too small and too sloped. He did not seem to mind.
Hiked with John for the whole day. I initiated a discussion about sex clubs. He wouldn't go past the boundary that would have let me make a pass at him and still feel good. I let it go.
Leaving the trail at Bear Creek or Bear Ridge for Vermillion Valley Resort wasn't any fun. Walked across the damn.


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© 2001 John E. Brennan