Trail notes. Day 1. Sept 2 2015
Greeted to the trail by deer in the first mile after my father gave me a good "last" breakfast omelet with potatoes and salsa at the Tioga Resort. Walked me the first quarter mile from the ranger station in sandals. The first day was easy trail but the 60lbs of everything and the 9200 foot elevation wore me down fast. Like anything new once the excitement wares off and the real work begins.
I stopped to catch my breath at one point and a marmot poked his head above a bolder to see who it was. He had a mouthful of dry grass for his nest that looked like a huge mustache. I had to keep myself from laughing out loud as not to scare him.
When I'd had enough walking I found a small spot uphill from the trail to bed down. With the good weather and few Mosquitos I just throw out a ground cloth, air mattress and sleeping bag. That set out I went down to the stream to pump-filter some water. In the middle of minding my own water collection a large mule deer came down the opposite bank, walked into the middle of the stream, a few feet away from me for a drink. Then she let the water out the other end and reminded me why I was filtering mine!
I cooked up some dehydrated-spicy, buckwheat noodles with veg & chick peas that I had prepared a few months earlier.
After dinner I walked up the trail a bit to investigate the sounds of a heard of cows with bells and what sounded like a dog being attacked by a bear. I thought how rude. Turned out to be a stock camp with the noise to keep bears away and a god awful mule braying.
Woke to frost all over everything. Definitely a cold start. Walked another 7 miles very hard hike up Donahue Pass to 11,100 feet. A long steep stretch gaining about 2000 foot elevation. Started at 8 and hit summit at 2:00. Great view of Mt. Lyell and the glacier, there was even a waterfall coming off it at about 13,000 feet up. Crossing into the Ansel Adams Wilderness and it is as gorgeous as the pictures. Met a retired couple from Oregon to walk with for a few miles but they pulled ahead near the summit and I needed a few more stops. Ended the day at Marie Lakes trail spur at 10,000 feet.
Day 3: too tired to journal today 15 miles push to make up a few miles.
Morning day4: Made it to Agnew Meadow and was 'rewarded' with USFS toilets, trashcans and my fav outback luxury, picnic benches!
Other than an awesome view of Thousand Island lake after making my way through Island Pass early in the day the day was uneventful... If you don't count a lack of water where I wanted it so I made a detour to beautiful Badger Lake. Only problem was when I thought I was on the PCT south turned out I wound up on the River Trail. No biggie, they wound up in the same place:)
One (of the many) reasons to be in the High Sierras is solitude. Not so much here. Sure I have miles of quiet and camping but the JMT/PCT is the outback equivalent of the 405 in rush hour. I'm seeing at least 20 people a day. All kinds of ages but the bulk are 20-something couples and some older folks.
I've never heard a tree fall in the woods but I did hear a big rockslide rushing down the canyon walls and then all was silent. Even the wind, for a moment.