We got our first update from the John Muir Trail for #JMT2013 today, and we're stoked! (And then we updated Day 3 when we got a bit more trail intel from Andy today.)
Our blogger, Andy, and our videotographer Chris, are hiking the legendary trail in Central California over the next two weeks and sharing their updates with all of you on the Hub and on this page on SierraTradingPost.com. The trek is more than 200 miles, so as you might expect, there was a lot of planning involved and on this — day one of the multi-day trip — there have been some changes to our cast already!
The guys planned to connect with Adam, John and Paul at the trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows on Saturday. For most of the crew, this was the first time they've met in real life since they got to know each other through social media channels. Adam, Paul, Chris and Andy met there, while John, one of our favorite YouTube channel managers of all time, hopes to join the crew later. The guys don't have much information on John's whereabouts, but they did get a text pre-departure, indicating he was OK and looking to meeting up with them at their mid-point, the John Muir Ranch.
Day 1: 9 miles
The guys met at Tuolumne Meadows and made it to camp at the mouth of Lyell Canyon - about nine miles. At this point, Adam determined the altitude was getting the better of him, and he decided to drop out. We're sorry to see Adam go, especially since he'd already committed a few days of hiking before the meet up at the trailhead. He hoped that would get him acclimated to the altitude. It didn't work, and the terrain only gets more difficult from here, Andy told me in a text. There's just no easy way to leave the trail after this point, so the Lyell Canyon camp departure was his safest option.
"So, it's just Chris, Paul and me," Andy said, "and we're feeling really good about covering nine miles on our first day."
Day 2: 14 miles
Yesterday, they covered 14 miles, passing Thousand Island Lake (elevation 9,834 feet) gaining about a mile in elevation.
"It was very tough, and we were ready to stop," Chris told us in a text. "We camped at Garnet Lake, and it was beautiful!"
They summitted Donohue Pass before 10 a.m. that day, so things were looking really good for them heading into day three.
Day 3: 18.8 miles!
Today, the guys looked to cover 15 miles of trail and get past Reds Meadow. They were, according to Andy, a bit behind scheduled on miles. At 10:30 a.m., they'd trekked more than six miles and gained more than 1,900 feet in elevation. Their average pace on Day 3 was 2.9 miles per hour! Fast and not sustainable, but worth the effort. It's hard work, but the views are making up for it, Andy told us via email.
"The rivers are crystal clear, and we've seen deer, including a mother, baby and buck," Andy texted. He also noted they hadn't seen any bears and are looking forward to a forecast that calls for seven days of sunshine!
As they dropped in elevation, Andy said, the terrain became very dry and hot.
"By noon, we were burning up," he told us.
They came to Devil's Post Pile National Monument, and at 7,500 feet, the heat was intense and the geology even more so. Their goal was to move past Reds Meadow, and there they met many day hikers. And they realized the missed the solitude of the wild lands already!
Trucking on, they sought out shade and had a hard time finding it, thanks to a burn area about a half mile beyond the meadow. They had 14 miles under their pack belts, and no choice but to keep moving. When they found a nice camp site by a creek, they had trekked almost 19 miles, and that stream was the source of cool refreshment. Dinner and route planning preceded sleep.
Muir Miles: More to Come!
The guys are definitely getting into this trip ... and they promise us all more updates, more pics and even video. (We're still hoping they shower before coming home July 28!)
Have you hiked the John Muir Trail or taken on any other big hiking challenges? Tell us about them! We love being inspired by hikers!
#JMT2013 Field Notes 7/15/13
By Juliette Rule
July 15, 2013
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