Journal entry for August 25, 2009
Approximate distance hiked: 7.5 miles, 12.1 km
The clothes I washed the previous day were still wet in the morning. I chatted briefly with the girl that dropped by Reds Meadow Backpackers Campground late the previous night. The other guy had already left. The girl’s name was July or Julie, and she was doing the JMT northbound by herself. She started by climbing Mt. Whitney with 50 lbs on her back. One tough girl. She was on her way to Tuolumne to meet up with her father and hike the last stretch to Yosemite Valley together.
I met up with the Jason, Payge and Ken for breakfast at the Mulehouse Cafe. Ken is a former NFL player and Payge has traveled all over the world and is currently writing a book about her adventures. You can check out her blog at TurnThePayge. Great conversation with great people. We all ate too much (pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc) and decided to take the shuttle back to the campground instead of walking the 0.2 miles. So lazy. Jason thought for a while about going to Mammoth to buy a pair of long pants. In the end he decided to suck it up and continue on with only one pair of shorts. I regret not exchanging contact information with him to find out how the rest of his trip went.
I said goodbye to my fellow JMT hikers and left Reds Meadow to continue my journey. Right away I saw a huge number of burnt trees from a 1992 fire.
The trail climbs up until reaching the base of the Red Cones. I decided to do the short side trip to the top of the southern Red Cone. There was no marked trail and my feet were sinking in the red soft sand, making the steep climb a bit difficult, but the views were worth it. At moments, it got pretty slippery but having the hiking poles helped a lot.
One the way down I got lost for a while. Since the southern Red Cone is covered in trees, on the way down (or up) it is really hard to tell which way you are going, you can’t really see the top or the bottom. I was coming down on the northern side of the cone instead of the eastern side. For a little while I was totally disoriented. I panicked for a little bit and fantasized about being stranded for days before realizing how ridiculous that was. I took out my map and compass and realized I had to go south-east to rejoin the JMT. I soon run into a stream and I assumed this was the same stream I crossed on the JMT before going off-trail to climb the cone. I followed the stream and soon rejoined the trail.
A small blister was developing on the back of my right heel. I stopped to put some moleskin around it before moving on. The next stretch of the trail was covered in trees and didn’t offer any expansive views. At 3:30pm I reached Deer Creek Junction, my intended camping spot for the day since they is no more water for the next 6 miles. I set up camp, ate some salami and cheese and relaxed a bit.
I then saw the group of 4 from the Czech Republic, 3 guys and 1 girl. Jason, Payge and Ken had told me during breakfast about 4 Czechs with huge backpacks. They indeed had very big backpacks. They stopped by the creek and I went to say hi. They told me they were 2 days behind schedule. They had their return flights booked and had to finish the JMT by a certain day. They decided to camp on the other side of the creek.
I washed my legs and feet which were covered in dust. Ate again around 7pm. The sun was going down and the mosquitoes were out in full force. Some people had told me that I didn’t have to worry about them this late into the summer, but there were definitely tons of them at this spot. I quickly finished the last of the camp chores and hopped in the tent around 7:45. About 5 mosquitoes got inside in the few seconds I opened the tent door. I had to hunt them down one by one so I could sleep in peace.