Friday, January 23, 2015

The John Muir Trail Part 4

The John Muir Trail
A remote point to point 200 plus mile backpack spanning from Yosemite to the top of Mt Whitney (with another 11 miles from the top of Mt Whitney to the trailhead)
Crashed on a bench above Lyell Canyon in Yosemite
As we meandered up the rare flat section of trail that extends the length of Lyell Canyon in Yosemite, we enjoyed the morning sun's rays and quietly babbling waters sliding past us  downstream traveling  the opposite direction as us.  Several miles passed in this idyllic fashion before I suddenly realized I no longer heard Gary's footsteps behind me and turned to see what could have stalled him.   I will never forget the frozen blank look on his face.   Trying  urgently to get him to answer me and tell me what was the matter, it was probably only moments but seemed like minutes before he finally uttered the words  "we have no tent."
I think Gary and I must have stood there staring at each other a good two minutes while we each digested what had happened to bring us miles into our JMT hike with no tent or shelter between us.   We then stood spinning possible solutions to our dilemma in our minds,  then mulling over our options together.    A couple things were decided.    First, that neither of us wanted to double back to the car and take the resulting drive to an outfitter to find a new tent,  and secondly,  that we had a pretty good gamble on about three days good weather due to Gary's having studied the weather intently the night before we left.  We also knew for sure by now though,  that between us, we had no shelter of any kind.   In year's past we had always carried a tube tent, a tubular piece of plastic that is a great quick shelter once a string is passed thru it and tied to trees, that could also double as a ground sheet under tents or bags.   But alas,   we didn't even have our  tube tent with us as in an effort to shave ounces on our ground sheet,  we had opted instead for a lighter tiny piece of filmy plastic weighing only 2 ounces.   Thus,  we had no tent,  no tarp, no ground sheet large enuf to cover us...we had absolutely nothing large enough to cover us in our bags should we be caught out in the rain!
After standing in the meadow for several minutes while each  shifted our weight from foot to foot compensating for the heft of our packs without the forward motion of hiking to take our minds off them, ultimately we did indeed decide to continue on.  We had allotted 5 days til our first resupply at Red's Meadow near Devil's Postpile.   Not trusting the weather to hold for five full days now however,  we decided if we were to gamble on making it without shelter to our first resupply, that we needed to double time it and shoot for Red's in three days!
Once making the decision to continue on,  and to hike faster than before, we poured on the coals.   Making it the rest of the way up Lyell Canyon,  we found a lovely bench above the canyon affording us a wonderful view back down canyon to Tuolumne meadows.
First night above Lyell Canyon
First night's camp above Lyell Canyon
Would we make it to Red's Meadow resupply in three days?
Would we make it to shelter before any storms overtook us?
To be continued....:)

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