6. Vermillion Valley Resort to Yosemite Valley
John from Oregon City and I hiked into Vermilion Valley Resort around
3PM. Food, then shower, then laundry. I was a dirty, stinky mess. Then
more food. Sibex was leaving on the 4PM ferry.
At VVR, I met met Tom & Don; the (newly coined) Spirit Riders (True North,
Tree, & Bodie), e-train, the Wolf Pack (the Prescotts, father & 2 sons,
all handsome, from Friday Harbor). Richard & Lori Joy, Dave, Bailey, &
Drew are here too. I first met True North at ADOPCTKO.
R & LJ and John left the morning after I arrived. I just didn't want to
rush out of there and opted for the afternoon ferry. Don't expect to see
them again. R & LJ are meeting a friend of LJ's for a section and have
some mileage to cover.
Have blisters on my feet. Peggy got me Epsom salts for 3 soaks.
Enjoyed the food, which was average. That was strange. It food was barely
passable but so satisfying. I enjoyed every bite.
The tent cabin for hikers was overflowing.
16.8 miles into VVR today.
Got out of VVR on the 4PM boat with Dave and E-train. Met Yogi, P-noid,
Smart Pants, Phluf and ? on their way into VVR. They'd taken time off
trail at Onion Valley/Bishop. Yogi wanted to talk to Tree, who was on
the second boat behind us. It was a slower boat and Bodie wanted to dive
into the middle of the lake. Never saw Bodie again, so don't know if he
Stumbled into camp with Dave, Bailey, Drew and E-train near dark just
short of Silver Pass.
Just 6 miles today, but a lot of uphill toward Silver Pass and a very
E-train got up and out of camp early and fast. The rest were gone before
me. My hands were hurting, and I couldn't get going in the cold. I was
further delayed by accidentally pouring a liter of freshly pumped water
into my pack. Big Zips suck when they are not zipped. Numb hands didn't
Hiked a lot alone today. The trail from Tinker's Knob to Virginia (?)
Lake kicked my butt.
Met Rusted Root who passed me on the trail. Caught up with him at his
camp at Deer Creek Crossing. Not the spot I would have selected for camp,
but there it was: it was already picked out and it had company. Lots of
The last half of the day provided views of where I'd hiked during the
first part of the day in a spectacular day. I was in awe to see how far
The close of the hiking day was miles of level through trees and rocks,
rocks and trees. The dullness of it made me question whether I could do
the whole PCT.
I realized today that I like having company more than I like hiking alone.
I already knew that I liked cooking and eating with others and being in
'camp' with others.
17.7 miles today, not including some off-trail misdirection. During the
time I was off trail, I kept on thinking, "Why am I going West so much?"
Even after looking at the map, I had trouble. I had some bad info in my
head, then I based subsequent decision on it. An assumption created confusion,
confusion compounded 'move mentality' and soon I was headed to the Pacific
Awoke at Deer Creek Crossing, and high-tailed it ahead of Rusted Root
to Red's Meadow for what would be a mediocre breakfast. But Dave, Bailey,
Drew and E-train were there. We had a great breakfast and they headed
out to Mammoth for gear repairs. I had a great hot shower.
The lupine in the burn area before Red's Meadow was spectacular for the
eye and on the nose. The spring was amazing. I'd never seen a big, clear
spring at its source before. Cool.
Devil's Postpile was a disappointment. They are not that big. Unusual?
Yes. Not-to-be-missed? No.
Got a little off trail at the Red's Meadow junction. Headed down the old
stage road. Ug. I knew the map well enough to know I wasn't on the right
track, but not well enough to get on the right track. I think a sign confused
An English lady warned me at a river crossing that I had a long uphill
coming up. I certainly did. The JMT just went up, up, up.
Got stung by something near a lovely little lake late in the day. It really
hurt and the hurt lasted.
Camped south and above Garnet Lake. What a hard day of hiking. Lots of
closed areas late in the day.
Shadow Lake was beautiful. Cooked dinner high on a rock on the switchbacks
down to it. I wasn't sure if cooking dinner constituted "camping," since
no camping was allowed. That had my mind going.
Saw a young buck twice in the same area.
20 miles today.
Enjoyed seeing Banner and Ritter from the far end of Garnet and 1000-Island
Lakes. The distances I'm covering on this trip are amazing to contrast
with the Banner/Ritter hike last year. On this trip, I hike in two days
what we covered in 6 days last year. Being on trail this year helps.
Zoomed over Donahue Pass from a lovely site above the south side of Garnet
Lake. Lyell Canyon is such a long stretch.
Seeing the weekend backpackers with all their stuff was amazing. Into
Lyell Canyon, I passed a huge backpack with things hanging off. There
was a man in there somewhere. His pack must have been 80 lbs. One mile
upthe Lyell Canyon trail, I headed out as a family of 5 headed in, at
Got into Tuolumne at about 6:30. I ran into Richard & Lori Joy almost
immediately, near Ginger's. Did not hook up with Ginger and Michael although
The Wolf Pack and Dave (from first few days of my hike) were in the backpacker
campground in Tuolumne. John from Oregon was there too. R & LJ and John
are going to hike with me to finish the JMT, and I'll drive them back
up to a shuttle to TM.
I'm excited to be ahead of schedule. I'll get to go to Saratoga Springs
and see some friends.
21.2 miles today.
Richard, Lori Joy, John & I got a million little things done in Tuolumne
Meadows and set out on the Cathedral Lakes trail at about 1PM. It was
some of the most beautiful trail I'd ever been on. We got to see azaleas
16 miles today.
Awoke above Yosemite Valley on the way to Half Dome. This leg has Richard,
Lori Joy, & John from Oregon City. Today we'll hit the Valley and my JMT+
adventure will be done.
We slept at a site I've always wanted to: on the spur trail to Half Dome
there's a level spot above the end of the Valley, just below the staircase
up to the cables on Half Dome. We slept as close to the edge as seemed
safe. I thrilled at being able to camp there.
We hiked like furies up & down Half Dome, although only John and I went
up the cables. We then pushed through the throngs on the trail.
100 Young Life hikers from Atlanta were headed up Half Dome as we were
headed down. This after passing some Boy Scouts. I wish I had a big black
pen to scrawl "QUEER" on my shirt.
Some people had stashed their packs and 'hung' some food at the Half Dome
trail junction. Apparently, these people though that if they simply got
the food off the ground, it would address the bear threat. I left them
We recharged in the Valley and set out to drop Richard, Lori Joy, & John
at a Tuolumne shuttle. We drove into an afternoon thunderstorm. It was
a lot further than I remember.
With everybody off, I dropped down to the Central Valley, where, at 6:30PM
it was 106 degrees Fahrenheit, on my way to Saratoga Springs. I drove
forever, arriving just before midnight. It was great to be home with my
Billies. Bart helped me bandage my healing hands.
12 miles today