HALFWAY TO WHITNEY
I’m at Muir Trail Ranch, last outpost of civilization out here on the JMT. Nothing much to say, except the goddamn full moon spoiled my long-awaited Perseid meteor showers, and each and every high pass in these mountains is breathtaking, just breathtaking. I took a dip in a crystal clear pool in a stream, and can finally feel myself getting stronger and maybe losing a little bit of weight :) I’m also quite brown around the hands, knees, and face :).
Checking out of modern life, now. See you in ten or eleven days on the other side of Mt. Whitney, where I’ll see what’s been going on in the world for the last month.
51 miles along and doing fine
Turns out the snow was not that much of a problem. We hiked over fields of it at 11000 feet just fine. We’re at Agnew Meadows right now along the PCT briefly where Tamara will exit. No bear sightings, just marmot and chipmunk and maybe pikka? Off now to feast on roasted fresh-caught trout. Feeling sunburned but healthy :)
Okay now reality is sinking in.
It’s the night before we set off on our JMT adventure. I’m staying at the last hostel-home in the United States, in Merced, CA. The cutest place in ever!!
…And I’m blanching. Tuolumne is full of snow. There is still up to twenty feet of snow on the higher passes. I don’t have that kind of gear. Trying to calm down.
Pre-treating our clothes with Permethrin. It’s a mosquito neurotoxin, but also, turns out, a human neurotoxin! Hence the pre-treating and not the present-treating.
Packing the bear canister full of food for just one leg of the hiking trip. It was a huge effort, and we’re only halfway done. (The picture only shows a couple days’ worth.) Fortunately I spent so much time on my part that I get a pass packing for this part.
The John Muir Trail has plenty of black bears around it (brown bears are extinct in the Sierras). Also they are so smart they’ve already figured out how to foil hanging bags of food off tree branches. So bearproof canisters are required, we just have to keep them at night 400 ft or whatever away from our packs and tents. And we have to fit all our food into them.
Every three days for the first 9 days (or a little more, since we’re out of shape) the three of us pick up a new reserve of food that we mail ahead to the only places along the trail that resemble civilization: a post office in Tuolumne Meadows at the end of Yosemite, a lodge at Devil’s Postpile National Monument, a resort off the trail at Edison Lake. Then when D and T exit, I get one more food drop at Muir Trail Ranch and continue on about 11 days till I finish my journey to the top of Mt. Whitney. Hopefully it will be less than that as I get stronger since I can’t really cram so much food in the bucket!!