PCT Day 64: JMT Day 1

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Yosemite Valley (0) – Sunrise High Sierra Camp (13.4): 13.4 miles / 605.7 total miles walked

The smell of smoke lingered all night and it was really hot. Despite all that I slept decently, probably because last night was so short.

My alarm woke me from a strange dream at 5 am. It was still pitch black outside, but we managed to pack up and head out by 5:30. We took the road to the Happy Isles trailhead and started climbing immediately.

The trail was still pavement, making it easier for the millions of tourists that visit Yosemite each year. After a short break at the last water spigot we then branched off to the actual John Muir Trail, still climbing.

We pretty much spent all day today climbing out of the valley, but the first half mile almost did us in. Sink actually said at one point ‘you know, we could still turn back’, which thankfully we didn’t.

The first half mile and the last half mile of the ascent out of the valley were the steepest. All in all we covered about 6000ft of elevation gain in about 11 miles. Phew…

After three miles and 2000ft of the climb, we reached Nevada Falls and sat down for an extended breakfast break. I enjoyed the sunshine and made some food, hoping to give me enough of a boost for the rest of the climb.

We left the waterfall at around 10:30, tackling the next couple thousand feet of elevation. The trail led through a burn area for a long time and it got pretty hot.

And of course, there were some very prickly plants trying to scratch my legs to bits. Oh trail…..

According to my GPS app the water sources for today were far apart and most of them were dry, so we loaded up on water at the supposedly last chance. And then proceeded to walk along a small stream for about four miles…..🙄 Always take other people’s information with a grain of salt.

The last mile of the climb really took it out of me. I had reached an elevation of over 9000 ft and I felt it….I felt like I was moving through taffy, sluggish, slow, and there never seemed to be enough oxygen. I had to stop so often to catch my breath that that one mile took me about an hour.😂

I met Sink at the top of the climb and we both pretty much collapsed on the ground for a few minutes. But we still had some ground to cover.

Thankfully, the trail led downhill for a while, making the walk a little easier.

After a few more miles we reached a beautiful open meadow and went to check out the Sunrise Camp.

It’s a camp that offers tent cabins and a backpackers area and we just caught it on the last day of its season.

The guy at reception was really nice, wanted to get us to stay for a steak dinner (64.50$, no thank you), but eventually made us a deal for a 10$ plate of leftover chicken and salad. Which was incredible after a hard climb.

We inhaled our food and then went to set up our homes in the backpacker area. I made another pot of food (honestly, you didn’t think that I would be full after that little plate, right) and then I crawled into my quilt and was even able to read a little bit. Tomorrow we make our way back to Tuolumne.

Keeping you posted…

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