Enjoying Every Moment…
It’s Day 5 on the John Muir Trail and so far we’ve hiked 45 miles. That’s 45 miles of stunning scenery through pristine wilderness – right in the middle of California. Who’d have thought it!
We realise how lucky we are to be completely immersed in such natural beauty, cut off from the rest of the world. And what makes it even better is that we still have 21 days left!
Join us on the trail as we leave the Yosemite National Park boundary and head into the Ansell Adams Wilderness.
Reaching the top of Donahue Pass.
Day 5 – Lyell Canyon to Rush Creek Trail (11.4 miles) – Tuesday 2nd September 2014 – ‘Over The Pass We Go’
It was an extremely cold night sleeping down Lyell Canyon. And it wasn’t just us being wimps. When we awoke Wayne’s bag was covered in frost to prove it! So we didn’t rush to leave camp. Instead we waited for the sun to crest over the ridge to warm everything up, including us!
Leaving camp and setting off along Lyell Canyon once more.
The Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River winds through Lyell Canyon.
We think Lyell Canyon is a special place along the JMT.
Our main objective of the day was to get over Donahue Pass, our first proper mountain pass at 11,073 feet. But before the really hard work began, we had a lovely walk along the rest of Lyell Canyon through pretty meadows that were teeming with butterflies.
We realise just how small we are in the grand scheme of things!
Butterflies are in abundance in the wild meadow.
Always keeping an eye out for those reflection shots.
Drinking plenty of water to keep us hydrated.
As we passed Lyell Forks and began the gradual switchbacks leading up to Donahue Pass, we were treated to wonderful views of grassy meadows, gently flowing streams and small glacial lakes. We stopped for a breather and to take some photographs. Wayne even took a short video clip to capture the essence of the scene. (He’s not had much luck with any time lapse over the last few days as there’s not been a single cloud in sight. I guess we can’t really complain about blue skies though!)
On our way up from Lyell Canyon.
There are a few creek crossings on this section of the trail.
More alpine scenery.
On our way to Donahue Pass.
A rock hop to cross the creek.
This was just the easy part!
Pacing ourselves on the switchbacks.
Still making our way ‘up’.
We stop and rest by some beautiful glacial lakes.
Continuing along the trail… We’re already high up but we’ve not reached the top yet!
Wayne crosses the glacial lake before we have more switchbacks to tackle.
It seemed like a lot of effort to reach the top of the pass, but maybe that’s because we’re now carrying full food rations in our bear canisters again. Anyhow, it might have been hard work but it was worth it. Reaching the top of Donahue Pass was definitely the highlight of our day. Not only could we see fantastic views of Lyell Glacier and the plateau below, but it signalled an end to Yosemite National Park as we now found ourselves entering Ansell Adams Wilderness.
Looking towards the glaciers. (Mount Lyell and Mount Maclure).
Still a long way to go!
From the top of Donahue Pass – enjoying the view of the other side!
Coming down the other side of the pass, our original plan had been to camp at Marie Lake. But as it was still two miles to reach the lake from the trail head junction, we decided to down our packs there and then and camp along the trail near Rush Creek. We just couldn’t wait to pitch the tent and get our shoes off!
Heading down from Donahue Pass.
The trail heads down and follows Rush Creek.
It was then time for some long overdue essential body maintenance. We both had a full strip wash ‘au natural’, part of our daily routine. Then I proceeded to shave my legs and armpits, as Wayne looked on incredulously at the fact I’d brought a razor on the JMT! Having not brought any makeup or deodorant with me, a razor is my only luxury (and that’s simply because it doesn’t have to go in the bear canister). De-haired and smelling a whole lot fresher, I felt much better! So it was worth carrying the extra few grams (in my opinion anyway!)
It was as good a spot as any! It had been a hard day so we decided to camp close to Rush Creek.
Then it was time for our camp dinner. I have to admit that it was the worst of our hiker meals so far. It sounded so good in theory – sweet potato mash (which I love) accompanied with salmon. The mash however was just far too sweet for our taste. It reminded us more of a pumpkin pie filling. I couldn’t even eat all of my serving, but because you have to pack out all of your rubbish, it just had to be finished. Thankfully Wayne did the honours and ate my portion too!
Sweet potato mash and salmon. Our worst hiker meal combination.
It’s getting to that time where we’re starting to miss ‘proper’ food. Hiker food can only suffice for so long. Thank goodness we have no further packets of sweet potato mash in our re-supply parcels. That’s one to cross off the list for sure.
Tonight we went to bed dreaming of an Argentinian parrilla! What we wouldn’t give for one of those or just a great big fat steak! I guess that can be our reward after summiting Mount Whitney and completing 211 miles. It’s not long to wait. We only have 166 miles to go!