What a real treat to wake up in a ‘yurt’ today! It really feels like we’re cheating – but after getting so cold and wet on the trail yesterday, a warm room to get our gear dried out and a comfy bed for the night came as a welcome relief.
Day 12 is almost our ‘halfway point’ – not in distance but in time – so we’re making the most of our ‘rest day’ at VVR before getting back on the JMT tomorrow.
Our one night of luxury on the JMT was spent in a yurt!
Day 12 – Rest Day at VVR – Tuesday 9th September 2014 – ‘Cheeseburger Bliss’
Both cosy and homely, the yurt proved a real tonic as we took a break from the trail!
Our view looking towards Lake Edison from the back of the yurt.
After ‘burgers’ not being on the evening menu last night at VVR, we made sure to get one at lunchtime today. That’s all that we’d been hankering after for days since not being able to get one at Red’s Meadow due to the cafe closing early. I must say that the burgers we had at VVR were nice, but not ‘amazing’, especially when you have to pay extra for cheese. (We thought that came as standard). After watching a few episodes of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’, we’ve seen some amazing burgers and will be going on the hunt for one of those as part of our ‘road trip’ after completing the JMT!
Eagerly awaiting the VVR Cafe to open for lunch!
Gourmet burgers, fries and a side of ‘slaw’.
I couldn’t resist having one of VVR’s famous milkshakes (even though it was a hefty $6.95!)
Anyway, with lunch today we can safely say that our quest for a burger on the JMT has now been fulfilled. Hopefully that will keep the hunger pangs and burger dreaming at bay, for the moment at least.
Something else we were looking forward to at VVR was the prospect of raiding the ‘Hiker Bins’ for any extra goodies to complement our hiker rations. There are two large storage lockers for food and non-food items where hikers may leave any of their surplus stuff when passing through. As it’s getting late in the season, the food bin was filled to the top with a whole array of various home-made hiker rations. We dived in, had a good rummage around and immediately squirrelled away some energy bars and granola mix. Unfortunately, there were no pre-packaged meals like what we had picked up at Red’s, so our best find were two large bags of peanut M&Ms!
Excited at the prospect of delving into this very full hiker bin!
Tip: Be sure to look through the hiker bins before VVR staff take out the best items to sell in the store. We thought this was really cheeky as hikers leave their surplus stuff in good faith for the benefit of other hikers, (not to be re-sold).
After vacating the yurt we were relegated back to the tent, but after an expensive night last night, plus an expensive lunch today, at least it is free at VVR to stay in the ‘Backpackers Campground’.
Our tent spot in VVR’s ‘free’ backpackers campground.
The rest of our ‘Rest Day’ consisted of getting on with a few chores and drinking a few beers. Just in case we have any more rain, Wayne set to work re-sealing the tent seams with some sealant purchased from the VVR Store. (It does seem to stock everything you might possibly need!) Whilst I spent a couple of hours in the laundry room washing and drying practically everything we had brought with us. (Apart from what we were wearing of course). There’s only so much a good old-fashioned rinse in the river can do!
Getting on with the never ending task of laundry.
There was a steady influx of people arriving at VVR as the day went on, some having chosen to hike the six miles in like us, others having taken the shorter ferry ride across Lake Edison. Nearly all were hiking the JMT and were using VVR to resupply with food or to have a rest day to recharge the batteries. One of the most interesting guys we met was an ‘old timer’ hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) whose trail name is ‘Paint’ from the movie ‘Paint Your Wagon’. I’ve never seen it, but his name I believe comes from him singing various songs from the movie as he goes along the trail. (Maybe you’ve met him too or heard him at least!) He has the best hiker tan we’ve seen and a beard that could rival Gandalf the Grey! He is also the font of all knowledge when it comes to long distance hiking. What he doesn’t know, it’s simply not worth knowing! He welcomes every new person to VVR as though he were a Walmart ‘Greeter’ and makes you feel quite special for being a ‘hiker’. You definitely meet some characters on the trail, and he was one of them!
Tucked away in the wilderness – Vermilion Valley Resort provided us with a bit of respite from the JMT.
Enjoying a beer and a bit of ‘free’ time in the afternoon.
Just one of the many ‘real ales’ sold in the VVR store.
After a day back in relative civilisation, we are ready to get back on the trail tomorrow. Instead of going over Bear Ridge, we’ll be taking an alternative route up Bear Creek to rejoin the JMT before we head over Selden Pass.
The owner of VVR told us that there’s a known black bear sow in this area with two young cubs. So we’re hoping the trail along Bear Creek lives up to it’s name and we might finally catch a glimpse of a bear. You never know… Watch this space!