Journal entry for August 24, 2009
Approximate distance hiked: 11.7 miles, 18.8 km
The night was the coldest of the trip so far, probably below freezing. My upper body was a little bit cold all night inside the sleeping bag. It is a 30°F (-1°C) bag, so it did work up to the point it was advertised. There was so much condensation inside the tent that some fell from the ceiling and unto my face. Outside the tent, my shoes were covered in frost. While backpacking, I appreciate the sun way more than back home. I was cold in the morning and waited in anticipation for the sun to rise enough to hit me. What a great feeling it was when it finally did. I went from cold to warm and comfortable within minutes.
The eagerly anticipated arrival to Reds Meadow was happening this day. I had never gone this long without showering, and was looking forward to a hot shower more than the hot food. As usual, it took me forever to pack up and get ready. I left Rosalie Lake around 9:30am. The first half to the 9-mile hike to Reds Meadow was just like the previous day: shaded, on soft ground, with no dust. After a half hour climb, it is a constant but gradual descent that is easy on the joints because of it’s low grade. Once again, I had the same feeling of bliss I experienced the previous afternoon. My body felt great and my mind didn’t have a single worry.
I stopped by Gladys Lake to filter water. The sandy beach makes this lake different than all the others I’d seen.
When I reached the Minaret Lake Trail Junction I realized that I had walked pass Trinity Lake without even knowing. I turned left to continue on the JMT. A while later I reached Devil’s Postpile National Monument.
While doing the JMT, one can choose to do a little detour to see the actual postpiles, or take a more direct route to Reds Meadow. Since I wasn’t in a hurry, I decided to check out the postpiles. They were OK, but nothing spectacular. It’s worth the detour but I wouldn’t go there specifically to see them.
The final hike to Reds Meadow was short, but it seemed long to me because of the anticipation.
I headed straight to the Mulehouse Cafe and ordered a cheeseburger and a Mountain Dew. There were no other hikers in the cafe at the time. What I really wanted was to eat sweet stuff, especially ice cream. I headed to the store across the cafe and got me some Animal Crackers, Hagen-Dazs ice cream, Starbucks Frappuccino, and a chocolate bar. I also picked up my second resupply at the store. This resupply was going to last until Muir Trail Ranch, about 5 days away. I ate all the stuff I bought at the store while sorting out the food into the bear canister. The store also allowed me to charge my digital camera battery (you can do this at the cafe too).
I walked to the campground but couldn’t find the Backpacker’s Campground at first. I had gone right past it as it is really nondescript. It is really close to where the showers are. There are 4 spots available for backpackers, with a bear box for each one, and it costs $20 per night. This seems excessive to me since a regular RV campground, which is much bigger, costs the same. The similar tent campground at Tuolumne Meadows costs only $5 per night.
I met a fellow JMT hiker named Jason. He was drying his gear since he had hiked in the rain during the storm the previous day. He was a little worried for not having enough warm clothes (no long pants, only one pair of shorts) for the rest of the way. I headed to the stalls for the long awaited shower. There are about 6 stalls. The one closest to the campground has the coolest water. Each stall then gets progressively hotter. I took the second to last one because I didn’t want the extra hot water to dry out my skin. The shower was very nice but with the door closed and no lights inside, it was a little hard to see. I also took the opportunity to wash all of my clothes, which ended up being a huge mistake. It was already around 4:30pm and the campground was pretty shaded, so my clothes stayed wet all night.
Later on, more JMT hikers arrived at the campground. First was a couple from North Carolina, Payge and Ken. Two other hikers, a guy and a girl, dropped by a bit later. It felt great to be clean for the first time in a week, but as the sun went down, I felt very cold wearing the wet clothes. I decided to call it a night around 8:30. Once inside the sleeping bag, I felt much better.