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RE: [John Muir Trail] Entering at Florence Lake

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  • robert shattuck
    Sam, Relatively speaking, Florence lake offers nothing compared to Vermilion. The store sells beer, I think, but otherwise it s all pretty much trinkets and
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 25 3:17 PM

      Relatively speaking, Florence lake offers nothing compared to Vermilion. The store sells beer, I think, but otherwise it's all pretty much trinkets and candy bars. You could sit there for a few days and chat with incoming/outgoing folk, but . . . mostly you'd be keeping the one or two people who run the shop, company. 

      And are you driving in? Even if you know you are going to hit the trail at Florence, I'd still boogie on up to Vermilion. You're going to spend a lot more money at the VVR. THe food's good and plentiful on the plate and there's lots of beer in the coolers and people tend to hang out there a lot . . . you get your backpackers who take a few days  off, you get the others, in for the night and gone in the morning . . . and then you get all the other non-backpacking characters who are always good for a chat. 

      If you've got someone driving you in and spending time with you, take an afternoon and hit the funky tubs (on the roadside of the river) at mono hot springs. You could pay for the clean ones at the mono hot springs resort, but why . . . 

      Of course, if you have someone driving you in then I would . . . well, you'd add an extra day, but I would get myself dropped off at the BEAR CREEK TRAILHEAD. THis would put you pretty much 1.5 days from Muir Trail Ranch vs. just walking in once you get off the boat at FLorence , where the walk-in will take just a couple HOT hours and ain't all that grand. 

      If you really love rivers and water falls and sweet bodies of water, then the Bear Creek Trailhead is the way to go. Pretty Damn Gorgeous . . . once you leave the trailhead you hike up and over a ridge (no water) then down the other side. Not strenuous at all, just usually hot . . . but once you get down to the creek, it's sweet water all the way and a very gradual, almost unnoticeable gain in elevation before you hook up with the JMT proper. 

      The two times I've done it, I've got a  late start, like at the trailhead around 1030-11 a.m. and I've made it to Marie Lakes just as it gets nice and dark. Next morning, up and over Selden and DOWN to MTR. 

      As for getting a permit––on your drive up, the ranger station, I should say, the first one (which is where I'd get it) is in, I think, PRATHER, right off the highway. You could call and ask Jim, at the VVR about that . . . pretty sure it's in Prather. 

      Your other option would be once you get off the main highway at Lakeshore there and you find yourself on the 20-25 mile road in, there's a ranger station up the road aways, but if you are getting in late, then they might be closed and you'd have to drive all that way back, next day. 

      A note on driving . . . once you do hit the funky road out to the VVR stay to your side of the road and you might even use the horn a bit as there tend to be a lot of kids or dudes in BIG trucks, who think it's good times to do about 40 on that road, when they should be doing 20 . . . and the blind curves here and there . . . I was in a car once and we got hit, head on, but luckily only about 20 miles an hour, but still, the chick was WAAAAAAY over in the on-coming lane . . . and that ain't saying much. 


      I am thinking about entering the JMT at Florence Lake (MTR actually) and going south to Whitney. I have a couple of questions:

      I'm sure some of you have stayed at Florence Lake, how does it compare with Vermillion? I will probably camp there a few days before hitting the trail, so is it a nice place to eat, drink beer, and shoot the breeze?

      Who do I contact for a permit? I'm just being too lazy to research it :)

      Please feel free to impart any other pearls of wisdom you may possess.


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