Journal entry for August 29, 2009
Approximate distance hiked: 13.9 miles, 22.4 km
Still feeling the effects of overeating, I chose to have a light breakfast consisting of pancakes only. Ryan was there and told me that he had invited another member of packbackinglight.com to join us. I met Steve who, like me, posted in the same forums on BPL during the months of preparation prior to the hike. We had compared itineraries and were hoping to meet on the trail. Steve asked me: “Are you Kevin from BPL?”. At first I thought he knew my name and that I frequented BPL because Ryan had told him. For some reason, I didn’t make the connection between this Steve and the Steve I met online. It was not after I saw his McHale packpack (an item I remembered from his online packing list) that I realized who he was. He has a very comprehensive writeup of the hike and a very nice picture gallery at his website.
I paid my tab of $130 for my entire stay at the resort, and said goodbye to the resort employees I had met. Ryan, Steve, another gentleman name Art and I boarded the morning ferry to leave Vermilion Valley Resort and rejoin the trail.
The four of us hiked together until where the Lake Edison Trail met the JMT. At this point Art, who was doing a loop hike and not the entire JMT, split from us while we continued south. The trail immediately starts a 2000 ft. climb up to Bear Ridge. Steve started motoring and left Ryan and I behind in no time. The two younger guys couldn’t keep up. Ryan was struggling a bit with his new resupply with about 10 days of food. On the top of the climb, we stopped to rest for a bit and met Mark and Misty. Mark had done the Appalachian Trail and most of the the Pacific Crest Trail. He and his fiancee Misty were taking a year off to travel around the world, starting at various national parks in the US, followed by New Zealand, South East Asia and India. Their travels are chronicled in their blog.
Ryan and I moved on. Shortly after we saw Marty and Ross, a couple from Connecticut who had previously completed the Appalachian Trail. They were on the Lake Edison ferry in the morning, but I hadn’t had a chance to talk to them until this point. After filtering some water, I told Ryan to go ahead of me since he was planning to finish the JMT days before me and was in more of a hurry. The plastic tip where the clean water comes out of my filter had been cracked for days and it finally broke. I could no longer hook up my Platypus hose to the filter. This worried me a lot since I might had to resort to my emergency purifying tablets, and once those run out that could mean drinking unfiltered water.
For a long while the trail was pretty uneventful. Lots of trees, no lakes, very few views of mountains. I stopped at Upper Bear Creek to get more water. I tried using the filter upside down, and let the outcoming water drip into Platypus container’s mouth. It was a lot of more work than using the hose but at least this way I could still use the filter for the rest of the trip. Just before I finished filtering, I was joined by Jack and Kathy, who I had met briefly at Rush Creek a week before. I was really surprised to see them since they were planning to finish the JMT about 10 days after me. They were way ahead of schedule. We chatted for a bit before I moved on.
I run into Ryan again right before reaching Rosemarie Meadow, which is where I had planned to stop for the day. Ryan convinced me to push for another 1.5 miles to Marie Lake. I was tired but thought that the views at the lake would be worth it.
I was glad I made that decision. Marie Lake was beautiful. We settled at the southern bank of the northern lake. Mike and Andy, two guys also doing the JMT were already there. The four of us had dinner together before taking pictures of the sunset. The three of them all had professional photography equipment and I’m sure they took much better pictures than me.
On this long day, I met a lot of nice people but scenery-wise, I felt it had been pretty underwhelming until the end. Marie Lake saved the day. Looking at the guidebook before falling asleep, I realized I had reached the 100-mile mark on the JMT.