JMT Trip, Short Version
- I got back last weekend from my shortened JMT trip and wanted to give a brief trip report. I ran into a few JMT Yahoo folks and a few Trail Journal Folks along the way. I have a little more descriptive report on Trail Journals under the trail name 'Hobbles' :
August 11th, Day 1: Got a later start than I wanted at the portal, 11:55 AM, and it was starting to storm already. Pretty strong down wind to add to the climb, yay! I got to the JMT/Trailcrest Jct at 4:55PM, about 55 min later than I wanted to do Whitney Summit, so I skipped it having been there 8 days earlier and going down the mountaineering route. There were some pretty ominous, black clouds hanging out up there as well. I got down to Guitar Lake, my intended stopping point for the night, but it looked like a gear salesmen convention was in progress with stuff scattered all over the rocks, so I moved on and made it to Crabtree RS, got rained on tonight in camp for quite awhile 13.5 mi.
Day 2: Got an early start and had great overcast hiking weather up and over Forester Pass where I ran into Bruce L. and his son heading down from the Center Basin Jct. The overcast and rainy conditions made for outstanding hiking weather so I decided to pump out Glen Pass as well and settled in for the night at Middle Rae Lakes, where I got my first lesson in proper site selection for my Z-Packs Solo-Mid. I was camped in a pretty open spot and got hammered by rain to the point of getting a lot of splash up under my tarp. I stayed dry thanks to my MLD Superlight bivy, but learned that I will have to tuck into some trees with impending downpours in my camping future ; ), 27.8 mi.
Day 3: This drying things out from the rain is getting to be a major pain in the ass, but did I nention it is great to hike in? The hike up Woods Creek is normally one of my least favorite sections, but was quite enjoyable today because of my early start and great cloud cover...again. Took a long break up on Pinchot and decided to move on due the building clouds in the direction of Mather, my next objective for the day. Sure enough, I started getting hard rain in Upper Basin, but it cleared up enough to make it over Mather without any issue and down to Lower Palisade Lake for the night. I had a rain-free night, but set up the tarp anyways, 27.5 mi.
Day 4: With a clear night last night, I actually got packed up a little quicker than normal and made good time down the Golden Staircase and Deer Meadows area. I ran into Don A. and Barb K. on the way up to Muir Pass as the clouds were once again building up. I was going to try and meet up with them for a camp that night in Upper LeConte Canyon, but I was a bit ahead of my itinerary. I REALLY wanted to stop at Evolution Lake for the evening to rest a bit and clean up, but there was lightning, thunder and rain and I didn't feel like stopping at 4:30 in the afternoon, so I kept on hiking. I stopped for dinner in Evolution Valley and thought about finding a camp spot, but wanted to cross Evolution Creek during the evening and not early morning, so I moved on...again. I made it down to Goddard Canyon, having to turn on my headlamp for a short while, 34.6 mi.
Day 5: MTR day. I always have mixed feelings about stopping at MTR. They serve a very useful function and are reliable as I have used them many times, but I really don't like their attitudes towards hikers. I have had many people tell me that the elderly lady is a really nice lady once you get to know her, but after 5 seasons of picking up re-supplies there, and trying to start a conversation with her, I just don't think she likes her job anymore, in fact she comes across as flat-out rude every time I have been there. I will avoid this place in the future...end of rant. I made good time up to Seldon Pass and down to Marie Lake for a much needed clean up with the sun out! I ran into a Trail Journal couple from New Zealand today and Andy D. from TJ and JMT YAhoo. Andy gave me some great ideas for ankle stretches from his experience with yoga. Made it up to Bear Ridge to get out a call to my family and cruised on down to the Lake Edison Jct. There was a couple of USFS guys there that invited me to their campfire tonight and breakfast in the morning!!! 26.8 mi, with the 1.5 for the MTR added on.
Day 6: Awesome start to my day! I got a fresh cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Thanks Zack and Wes. I had a great break at Squaw Lake and took another swim/sunshine break at Lake Virginia. This was the sunniest day of my trip so far, but there were storm clouds starting to build again towards Red Cones and back towards Silver Pass. The trail work done between Lake Virginia and Reds Meadow was fantastic! I couldn't believe the carnage of the downed trees and how it changed the look of that area. I made it down to Reds in time for a shower, ( $5, behind the store ), a cheeseburger and my re-supply. My left knee was starting to swell and lock up on me on the downhill to Reds, and it felt like an injury that I have had previously was going to make a reappearance, a meniscus tear or cartilage getting lodged in my knee, 28.3 mi.
After getting up with a locked-up knee and trying to loosen it up for a while this morning, I decided that I needed to be wise and get out here while the getting out was easy. It was a hard decision, but I know it was the right one as I have now been to my orthopaedic doctor and have been told it looks like I may have re-injured my meniscus. I get an MRI next week. Total miles - 160.
I had a great hike and look forward to trying for a sub-7 or 8 day again once I get healed up. It was nice to meet a few of you out there, and maybe we will cross paths out there someday.