Day 8 - August 18th

It was hard to believe that we were on Day 8th of John Muir Trail. It met all my expectations and beyond. By now, our daily routine of setup/breakdown tents became very efficient. Our early morning hike in the forest became a ritual. Something about the morning sun in the wood that warmed your heart that could not describe. The photos look beautiful but you physically have to be here to experience its beauty. We enjoyed our 7 miles with 2,000 descent hike to spectacular Middle Fork Kings River trail. Quite often we encountered at least one or two deers a day on the trail. I particular hoped i would encounter bear. I joked that I did not see any bears but i was eaten by Monster Rock! There are group of seniors camped at Monster Rock. They did have a wonderful campsite. They were about to break camp and we did chat a little bit. Somehow i gave a strong impression that she commented I will be back this place someday like she did! Maybe because of my enthusiasm of being here but who knows where life might lead you! Never say never...

The trail along Middle Fork Kings River was incredible. We really enjoyed this section of the trail. I often hiked not far ahead of Cyndi but I stopped dead when i saw Grousse Meadows. I called out to Cyndi and said you got to take pictures of this spectacular meadows. I think this is a appropriate place for her to pull out her beloved bandana and showed to the world. You wondered what did it print on her "rock your force of nature" bandana? A woman's place is in the wild!

This afternoon was little warmer than usual. We need to cool down before a big climb toward "famous" Golden Staircase. The name was giving because of steep series of switchbacks in a very short distance and you are lucky enough you catch it toward the golden hour before sunset, the light reflects off cascading Palisade Creek giving it a golden glow. We decided to jump into Palisade Creek to cool down and refilled our water supply. The switchback was not that bad but the heat made it difficult. At every turn of switchback, we had the chance to look at the valley that we were there in the morning. It was a vast, impressive view. We are now above the treeline again and it was hot. I particularly want to march on toward Palisade Lakes where I wanted to take another bath and find a good campground. I dropped my backpack and immediately jumped into Palisade Lakes to cool down. I was chatting with other fellow hikers at the lake shore while waiting for Cyndi. They all planned to camp here tonight. My instinct fear was that with all these hikers wanted to camp here, chance to find a good campground was slimp. Palisade Lakes is a mile and half long and also narrow. Although you would have a good view of the lake, the campgrounds were far away from the water. Most of the campground already filled up as we passed by. We continued to march on to look for the next campground futher toward the end of the lake. We were on the race with other group of hikers thatalso were trying to find campground for the night. Luckily one of the hiker told us to look toward the trees and bushes 30 yards away. It turned out to be the most seclusive campground. It was very private and cozy. We could not be happier that the water stream was nearby and the view looking up to the mountain peak was incredible. It was so strange that 3 days ago, we owned Marie Lake for the night and today we had to race with other hikers to find campground. Our luck of finding awesome campground each night continued on... We camped at mile 148 of JMT (Palisade Lakes).

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