Friday, January 23, 2015

The John Muir Trail part 5

Thousand Island Lake
Thousand Island Lake
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)
As soon as we made our decision to hike on, the shock was replaced by determination.  Originally we had planned to camp a few miles down Lyell Canyon, and save the climb to Donohue Pass for morning when we were fresh.  However,  the lack of tent gave us incentive to push on.  Forging on all the way to the end of the flat canyon walk, we then made it part way up what was to be the next day's climb to Donohue before we called it a day.  Finding a lovely little bench with a view down canyon we spread out our bags and fixed supper. We truly enjoyed the stars overhead that night...thankful for clear skies!
The next morning we powered up Donohue Pass relatively quickly as we were part way there already, and our legs were strong and fresh after a good night's sleep.   Having been on Donohue Pass before,  we knew what a treat that view was so we stayed for a short time enjoying the view east and south towards Mammoth Mountain...but then hurried on.
The next stretch of trail led to unremarkable Island Pass and then onto Thousand Island Lake, and from Rush Creek junction, we were on new trail!   As long time hikers,  we always cherish new trail and the adventures ahead as so many of our high Sierra hikes criss cross previously hiked trails.   And to add to the treat of the new trail, we saw not one hiker that day on that trail.   In fact,  we saw not one other soul from about half way down Lyell Canyon until  almost to Reds Meadow!  May all on-trail hikers have as good a luck in their journeys!
Arriving before dinner at Thousand Island Lake, we found an isolated spot a long ways above the lake...replete with a stunning view down onto the lake!   And still clear skies graced us overhead!  As day two came to a close,  we knew we had a long day three ahead and were keeping our fingers crossed for no rain.   And with no choice but to yet again  lay  our bags under the open skies...we took full advantage of our forced situation and  once again also savored the amazing show above us  to the fullest.
But we lay under the stars that night savoring the stillness and quietude and display of amazing stars sprinkled with shooting stars...there was yet always that little bit of unease marking those days and nights of the gamble we were taking by hiking so far with no shelter of any kind.  Would our foolishness be our undoing?  Would we make it  that last night before Red's Meadow and civilization and through that next long day til we could make it to shelter?
To be continued.....

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