Day 6 - August 16th
Marie Lake - We could not believe that we owned the lake for a night!
I tried to shoot the stars again last night but the photos did not come out the way i wanted. So after a few tries, I went to bed sinced it was a long hike yesterday. I already told myself stargazing would be in the future outdoor trip!
The weather got even better as we were heading southbound. I was always wondering how would I feel to camp at the lake over 10,000ft and let alone we pratically owned the lake for a night. That feeling got me goosebumps and felt how lucky I was able to do this.
We broke camp and started to hike before dawn. We were not in a hurry but Cyndi and I were very early morning person. The benefit of hiking early in the morning was "magical". We were experiencing the sunrise, pristine and tranquility of the wilderness that rarely a few could experience. As I turned back and look at Marie lake and was waiting for the Sunrise reflection to capture the moment. I personally could not believe that we had the lake for ourself. I guessed Ferguson fire near Yosemite and multi other fires further South caused a lot of cancelations. Whatever the reasons were, it gave us greater chance to cherry pick our favorite campgrounds. We were lucky with our selected campgrounds for the last five nights. Hope our luck would continue but we shall see!
Muir Trail Ranch (MTR): Everything went so well and we started one day early at Tuolumne Meadows trailhead. That put us one day ahead of schedule so we planned to show up at MTR on the 16th instead of the 17th. We heard a lot of good things but also negative comments from hikers about MTR. We wanted to experience and judged for ourself. It turned out MTR was a little neat Ranch. You could stay at the Ranch Lodge and had great meal for overnight staying. Met quite a few hikers coming from Bishop pass and stayed at MTR. Sound like a luxurious hiking to us! Our experience at MTR was great. The gal that took care of our resupply was very friendly. We were wondered what were all those negative comments? They had a small cozy store that we could get most of the stuff for thru-hike. We actually bought new gas canister for our next 7 days hike. MTR is half way point for either direction: NOBO or SOBO. Most of hikers had multiple dropoff locations such as Reds Meadow or Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR). We decided one resupply for our entire trip. This decision worked out well for us. My backpack was now 11 lbs heavier and it weighted at 37 lbs. Typically, you carry about 1.5 to 2 lbs of food per day. I managed to get by with around 1.5 lbs/day.
Blayney Hot Springs: Before we got back on the JMT trail and continued SOBO journey, we wanted to stop at the hot Springs that many hikers were talking about. Beside it was warm around noon so we were ready for hot Springs bath. It was very warm muddy water. We were not sure the hot springs would do us any good but we did have fun. In order to get to Blayney hot springs, you have to cross a strong current stream of water. You could find your balance and aided your acrossing by holding on to the rope. We decided to wash ourself by submerging in the cold stream of water while holding tight to the rope. This was a new way of taking a bath. It was cold but felt very exhilarating.
Sequoia Kings Canyon Wilderness: Once we cross the footbridge we were leaving John Muir Wilderness and entering Sequoia Kings Canyon Wilderness. We knew this section of the trail was something special. We hiked along this long stretch of streaming water that we never got tired to enjoy. We had to constantly remind ourself this was the normal weather in high sierra. The beautiful weather could change anytime. It was sunny, warm in the afternoon and now dark cloud were formed above us. This did make a pleasant afternoon hike with cooler air and beautiful waterfall. As soon as we got to our destination campground next to the river at mile 116 of JMT, we had pouring rain. We setup our tents in hurry and waited out for the rain the stop. As fast as the rain poured down on us, 15 minutes later it stopped and the sun came out again. The rain added a little fun camping experience in the wilderness. Our home for tonight was next to the river with an unbelievable view. The whole surrounding with a hot meal to satisfy our hunger made it all worth while. We scored another awesome campground - 6 days in the row.
Seldon Pass (10,898ft) - Had a chance to blow our whistle again (4th)!
Charge your phones??
First thing I did at MTR was weighting my backpack. It was 26 lbs
Cute cozy little store at MTR
11lbs for next 7 days - My backpack was now 37 lbs.
This is where they store our food!
You can salvage for these buckets that people left behind.