Re-Joining The JMT…
Our day of luxury at VVR seemed to be over far too soon, but having recharged the batteries it was time to put the trail shoes back on, reload the backpacks and rejoin the JMT.
It was our longest day yet, having to contend with a 9 mile hike up Bear Creek before even setting foot back on the John Muir Trail. But we did it with blue skies and glorious sunshine – and not a hint of the rain we had seen on Day 11. But more importantly, did we see a bear?
Back to our home from home – the tent – after leaving Vermilion Valley Resort.
Day 13 – Bear Creek Cut-Off to Rosemarie Meadow (13.4 miles) – Wednesday 10th September 2014 – ‘Bear Hopes At Bear Creek’
Rather than keeping you in suspense, in short, the answer is no. We didn’t see any bears at Bear Creek, despite us hoping we might glimpse the sow and her cubs, whom the owner at VVR had told us about. We’re always on the look-out for footprints or any evidence that a bear has been in the vicinity, but on today’s trail all that we saw were plenty of giant pine cones and lots of lizards. Not exactly in the same league as a bear!
We chose to get back on the JMT via Bear Creek instead of taking the more strenuous uphill route over Bear Ridge.
Heading back into the mountains blanketed in a dense covering of trees.
We spotted lots of lizards on today’s trail to add to our ‘wildlife tally’.
We’re not kidding – some pine cones were literally the size of a head!
Despite our chosen route going uphill all the way, it was a much gentler incline as opposed to tackling Bear Ridge, the alternative, and we had a lovely walk along Bear Creek (even though we didn’t realise it would be 9 miles before we rejoined the JMT). We passed a number of crystal clear pools along the way that in the hot midday sun looked perfectly inviting for a swim. But as we still had a long way to go, we resisted the urge to jump in!
Ponderosa Pines towered above us.
We walked alongside Bear Creek for most of the day.
I felt like a small insignificance in the great scheme of things.
The crystal clear water looked so inviting.
Crossing the creek and resisting the urge to bathe the feet for a while!
Despite the shade from the trees, it was a hot day for hiking 13 miles.
It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that we saw anyone else on the trail today. And rather uncannily the first people we saw happened to be a trio of Brits! They had first hiked the JMT 10 years ago and assured us that after we complete it, we’ll want to do it all over again. I don’t know about that – I just want to make sure that we make it to the top of Mount Whitney the first time, never mind about planning a repeat performance (yet!) Later in the day, we also saw a German couple hiking the JMT in the opposite direction to us. So far on the trail we haven’t seen a vast mix of nationalities. The majority of hikers have been American (many from the state of California, so the JMT is practically on their doorstep!) We’ve seen a fair number of Europeans, including Brits like ourselves, but the other overwhelming nationality on the trail are Japanese. We didn’t realise Japanese are big hikers! Great stuff, we’re all about meeting new people and finding out about their experiences of the JMT!
Having already made it over Silver Pass, Selden Pass was our next big hurdle, which we would tackle the following day.
Our aim for the day was to reach Marie Lake to set up camp, but it had been such a long, hot day and we had just about ran out of water that it seemed a bit too ambitious for us to get there before dark. So alternatively, we stopped just before the Lou Beverly Trail junction near to Rosemarie Meadow and found a pre-used camping spot there on which to pitch our tent. It was also fairly close to the creek so we could do the all-important job of filtering some drinking water.
Surrounded by nature’s giants.
It was a long day and we were more than ready to down the backpacks and find a camp spot.
We needed to filter water for drinking and cooking, so decided to set up camp a few miles short of Marie Lake.
We were both shattered, but had we known how spectacular Marie Lake is, (having discovered it the following morning) I’m sure we would almost certainly have tried to push on and get there for sunset. I guess that will be a guaranteed camp spot for us if there is a second time round!
Our camp spot near to Rosemarie Meadow.
I cannot emphasise enough that Marie Lake is well worth a visit. It’s simply stunning and in my opinion the best out of all the lakes we have seen so far. (So make a note of it and make sure it’s on your list of must-see places to camp along the JMT. You will not be disappointed!)
More of that to come in our next post!