JMT – Day 10 – VVR to Marie Lake
August 12, 2014
From Vermillion Valley there are several possible ways how to rejoin the JMT. Our choice is the slightly longer yet more scenic Bear Creek trail. The other option would be its steep and dry neighbor, the Bear Ridge Trail or for those who wish to stay purists and hike every step of the trail an option of retracing their steps and rejoining the JMT at the exact spot they left it is available.
The shuttle for which we paid $10.00 a head drops us off at Bear Creek trail Cutoff. It means we have 3 miles ahead of us to reach Bear Creek Trail and from there another 7.6 miles to before we connect with the JMT. The path leads us on large light colored slabs. Trees are scarce but majestic here. Somewhere we heard they can be up to several hundred years old. At first there is not much elevation gain but eventually the trail decides to take us out of the valley and becomes a butt kicker. At 1:00 p.m. we finally reach the JMT.
The grade instantly becomes easier and we start making progress towards our destination, campsite in open forest near mile 97. Today is the day we break our record in miles backpacked in a single trip and consequently today marks most days we consequently spend outdoors in a single trip. It is a gorgeous day to celebrate and even the arrival of afternoon clouds cannot erase the proud smile off our faces.
A friendly smile welcomes us at the campsite we marked as our home for today. It’s Kevin whom we met during our very first night at Little Yosemite Valley. It’s been awhile since we crossed path with his group. The conversation flows and if the site was large enough to accommodate us, I can see spending the whole evening chatting with Kevin and his friends; however the space is limited here and a need to find a home for tonight pushes us back to hiking. We pass a small campsite about a mile upstream. It sits on a side of Rosemarie Meadow and in many ways would be a perfect place to camp at but at this time Marie Lake is a stone’s throw away and we feel the lake fever.
Marie Lake is a popular destination and soon it feels like we are a part of a big reunion. Ehsan and Kate show up and we are curious to hear about their detour to the Minarets. Yogi makes it too. This guy is unbelievable. Limping and hobbling and obviously in pain but he always makes big miles. And then there is Emily from Tuolumne Meadows and her two friends who invite us to their site for an evening chat and before we know it, the sun sets and darkness takes over the Sierras.
Miles today: 17.1 (6.5 on JMT, 10.6 extra to rejoin the trail from VVR)
Cumulative miles hiked: 100.9 Miles left: 110.10
Tomorrow will fill our packs with 10 days worth of food. Are we ready to carry the weight?