Thursday, August 15, 2013

day 10: first day on the John Muir Trail

First day of the JMT!! We woke up, packed up camp and went to our car.  We took all of our stuff out of the car and separated it into things that needed to go with us and things that needed to stay in the car.  In Yosemite, bears are very accustomed to being around humans and are always searching for human food and toiletries.  So you have to completely clean your car of any crumbs, food items, food wrappers and toiletries.  They can't even stay hidden in the trunk because it is likely that a bear will still smell it and they have broken into cars before just to get to the item.  Since we are leaving our car at Yosemite for at least 3 weeks (while we're on the trail) we needed to take all the potential bear triggers out of the car and store them in a bear locker (and trust that no one stole our stuff...luckily they didn't).  John fit everything else in the trunk!  He then disabled the trunk release in the car so no one can break into the car and pop the trunk.  Smart man!

We then rushed to get our backcountry wilderness permits (documentation stating that you are allowed to hike in the backcountry, and yes, you have to apply for these months in advance for the JMT in order to get one or you can wait around for days at a time and wait in a lottery type set up to get one but it's never guaranteed).  John had to go to 3 different places before we could find the correct one.  He got it just in the nick of time (9:50 a.m.) because at 10 they start handing out reserved passes that haven't yet been claimed.  (Side note: I could only eat 1/2 of a muffin for breakfast because I was so nervous about the trail)

We find parking at the trailhead lot and store our toiletries in a bear locker and begin on the trail!


We have to make it out of Yosemite Valley which, to put it nicely, is hell.  It is straight up and I thought I was going to pass out from pain.  Also, there were lots of people dayhiking which is kind of annoying because they are loud, usually in large groups and don't have packs nearly as heavy as ours.

 The trail to Nevada Falls (coming out of Yosemite Valley)

Us at Vernal Falls

John pointed to the top of a mountain and said "we need to get there and then continue on before tonight comes" and that's when I lost it.  I had been so strong during the days leading up to the hike when everything seemed to be going wrong, everything building up came out--my nerves, my doubts about my ability to do the JMT, the weight of my pack, the uphill climb.  I started tearing up (thank goodness I had on sunglasses) and John started talking me through it, bless his heart.  I got it together and we continued on.  We hiked 7 miles from 4000 ft to 7200 ft to Cloud's Rest Junction and I have never been so happy to arrive somewhere!  Also, I saw my first (and hopefully only) rattlesnake in Little Yosemite Valley.  Yikes!

 The rattlesnake

We set up camp, got water, all the usual stuff.  There was a doe gazing at us the entire time from across the stream.  Later she bounded up the right side of our camp and then down the left.  When she came down the left I was attending to some personal business and she just stood (50 ft away?) and stared at me the entire time.  So strange.  Also, earlier in the day, we saw a doe on the trail and were literally 10 ft or less from her, she just looked at us and kept eating, almost to say "yeah, so what?".  Crazy.

 Our campsite doe

Campsite at Cloud's Rest Junction

I had no appetite on this day.  I had to make myself eat tiny bites of food because I felt like I was going to throw each one up.  Nerves, maybe?

Total JMT miles: 7

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