Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 13: Perfect Day On The Trail

Monday, August 20, 2012

South Fork Kings River (mile 165.2) to Lower Rae Lake (mile 182.4).

Today's miles: 17.2
Trip miles: 182.4

Today was a long, but beautiful day on the trail. Not because of all the miles I had to cover, but because of two other reasons. Before I get to those reasons, I have to mention just how spectacular the scenery was today. I started hiking at 8:10 am and arrived at camp at 6:45 pm, enjoying every second of it.

view north
another view north further up the trail
Lake Marjorie
Lake Marjorie (right) and unnamed lakes (left)

First reason for this long day was the elevation gained, lossed and gained once more. Last night I camped at 10,054 ft and tonight I'm camped at 10,570. That seems like a very flat 17.2 mile walk right? But, I'm on the rollercoaster ride at the Johm Muir Amusement Park, so that was not the case. From camp, I hiked to Pinchot Pass at 12,086 feet in 4.8 miles.

view south from Pinchot Pass
chipmunk at Pinchot Pass
Resting at Pinchot Pass

Then, in the next 6.9 miles, I hiked down to 8,547 feet, only to gain ~1,500 feet to get to my destination for the night.
If it sounds like I'm mad or upset, I'm not. I knew the elevation profile of this hike long before I set foot on the trail. Check out my 'JMT Info' page for more on the elevation profile for the John Muir Trail.

leaving Pinchot Pass..due south
very rugged landscape above 11k ft
beautiful scenery south of Pinchot Pass

The second reason for this long day was because I listened to my body and gave it what it needed. It wanted rest, so I gave it rest - and lots of it. Last night I slept almost 10 and a half hours! I don't do that at home! I knocked out around 8:30 pm and woke up at 6:50 am. Sure I tossed and turned and woke up a few times, but I slept really well.

During the day today, I also took long breaks. I spent 90 minutes at Pinchot Pass resting, stretching, drying clothes, drinking green tea and snacking. Later, I took two - shoes off - 30 minute breaks during the downhill stretch to let my feet breathe and rest.

It sure was a relaxing day of hiking. I feel great and couldn't have had a better day. The rains stayed away and the clouds provided plenty of shade. The water tasted amazing and was very refreshing (as always) and the scenery - spectacular.

The people were great too. I hiked a bit with yonger Bryan and dad Bryan. Probably won't see them anymore as they will exit out of Kearsarge Pass tomorrow. I also met two guys who work for the U.S. Geological Survey at Pinchot Pass. They are out here for 7 days with two others studying the feeding grounds of bighorn sheep in the area. Sign me up for that gig!

At the Road's End trail junction - a popular entry/exit point for hikers doing the Rae Lakes Loop, I came across this beautiful bridge.

The views only got better as I headed up the trail towards Rae Lakes.

many of these signs on the trail
view northbound 
meadow and Fin Dome just left of center 
beautiful Dollar Lake
At Lower Rae Lake, just after I had finished soaking my feet and having dinner, I met Dwayne from New York and Chris from Colorado - buds hiking the JMT who also want to finish in 3 days time.

This trail is not easy, but the views, and the people make the miles (and days) fly by. Speaking of flying, it seems that the Sierras are the preferred training grounds for fighter jets because I have heard and seen them fly overhead everyday I've been out here. It's 9:20 pm as I finish composing this journal entry and another jet is flying overhead. They are so loud at these high elevations. I wonder what the animals think of all the noise.

Oh, while we're on the topic of flying, I saw a bat while stretching around 8pm. First of the trail.
”There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.” ~John Muir

posted from Bloggeroid


  1. Great pics and great information! Keep up the good work Andy! Be careful and safe!

    From James Castro