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Re: JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun

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JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun
August 21, 2014 09:06PM
Day 10: July 24, 2014

Morning came all too soon, especially after the full day of hiking everyone had had the previous day. We finished breakfast, packed, and were on the trail long before the sun hit us, which was far above upper Palisade Lake.

Mather was the first of two passes we'd cross today, so we took it slow and steady. We didn't have a definite stopping place in mind, so the day could be anywhere from 17 - 20+ miles.

We stopped for the obligatory snack and pictures at the top of the pass. I think LaSportiva denied our request for sponsorship since our shoes because of the extensive wear and tear our shoes were showing.

Smells like cupcakes and crow...

It's always impressive to see how far away Pinchot Pass appears from Mather; it appears to be days, not hours, away. As we faced this next hurdle we strolled through lovely Upper Basin; the clear sky was in stark contrast to my last visit here, when I was being heckled for my neon hi-viz pack cover.

It was also humbling to see the vertical notch that is Frozen Lake Pass, which appeared to be anything other than passable from the north. (Some twit left a note in the register claiming that the pass was a "piece of cake"...)

We stopped for a quick dip and snack at a particularly nice spot where the creek flowed through a pleasant meadow.

As always, we had to leave this place all too soon, and after a bit more downhill, we started the long climb to Pinchot Pass, the contrast with Mather Pass quite apt given the men the two passes were named after. Fortunately in the High Sierra the contrast between Pinchot's Forest Service and Mather's Park Service is not very pronounced...

We stopped for a break at Lake Marjorie near where there was some particularly fractured granite, the exfoliating layers standing on edge.

The blue waters of the large lake above this one contrasted with the red rocks surrounding Pinchot Pass.

At the pass, we waited in vain for our Osprey sponsorship check; alas, it seems they already had most of the JMT hikers as customers, so they passed on the opportunity.

We didn't stay too long at Pinchot as we still had several miles to go. A hiker who had been there when we arrived was seeking a level of quiet and solitude more appropriate for the High Route than a major pass on the JMT.

The terrain south of Pinchot is very colorful by Sierra standards--bright green meadows among red, grey, and white mountains.

Once at the Sawmill Pass trail junction, we started looking for a campsite--we knew that there were no really good spots* past here until Woods Creek "village". When A and I had camped at Sawmill in 2008, we took the first not-very-spectacular campsite we found. A had remembered seeing better sites across the creek the next morning, and sure enough we found a large flat granite slab with decent views--and few mosquitoes. Our perfect campsite streak continued: we hadn't camped at an unsatisfactory site the entire trip.

The H party was just behind us, but we had lost radio contact with them; the next morning we found out they had camped nearby.

We were treated to another mild, clear, and dry night, but for me at least there was some sadness: there were more miles behind us than ahead, and it had been such a great experience that none of us were in a rush to reach the finish line. (Okay, A was perhaps a bit in a rush to meet up with E--radio handle "Sweetie!"--tomorrow...) Four days, three passes remaining... It would be over all too soon.

* Remember, we're campsite snobs. There are a few decent forested sites, for those who prefer to camp on duff under trees instead of upon granite slabs under starry skies.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/21/2014 09:12PM by basilbop.
avatar Re: JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun
August 21, 2014 09:39PM
Ah.... just noticed... how bad of me... a new pack for the wife of thee.

(how dat for prose?)

I told AndrewF about Z registry atop Froze-on Lake Pass. Why I take pictures.
I remembered it as "easy" ... but , alas, the proper wording is indeed "piece of cake"

Good tymes

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun
August 21, 2014 09:50PM
"Looks Easy From Here"
Re: JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun
August 21, 2014 09:52PM
Yup, my old Exos 58 was showing a lot of wear and had holes in places and well, I didn't want to risk a failure on the JMT, so I bought the new model in time to test it on the GCT before the JMT. Had to learn to pack my stuff in it, but it's been great! And we saw SO MANY of them. One day, I stopped counting around 20... and I mean 20 of the Osprey Exos 58 packs, not just Osprey packs in general. SO MANY! The whole trip. I'd say easily *the* most popular pack on the entire trail! (and with good reason, in my book). If it fits you, it's a great pack.
Re: JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun
August 21, 2014 09:46PM
(having a bit of a problem posting my message under the right account in the right place tonight.. sigh)

Big day. Let's cut to the chase, in 2010, we started on the western end of Lower Palisade Lake and ended up at Woods Creek. This time, we were starting at the eastern end of Lower Palisade Lake and didn't know where we'd stop... I was kinda hoping we wouldn't have to go all the way to Woods Creek, because, well, it was a miserable camping experience. With this in the back of my mind, I just wanted to enjoy my day...

And I did! We had a nice mosey to the Pass, since it was morning and all up, I was slower than cold molasses, but we made it. The H party had been chatting and having fun with those at the pass for quite some time before I got there. I loved our shoe-shot, but almost lost it when M tipped over sideways - I thought she was going to fall over and off into the rocks! But she was fine! Whew!

Oh, we'd leap-frogged with P and C. They'd camped above the lakes, and we passed them as they were finishing morning chores. They passed us again before the pass. Mather Pass was lovely again (it had been a favorite pass of mine in 2010) and we had a happy trip down into Upper Basin. Just a lovely day for a walk... On the way up the trail towards the Bench Lake ranger station area - the steep bit - M and I were hitting our stride and cruised up. Mind you, I'm on a 12-15 minute schedule of popping a chew, so ~2 minute breaks are built-in! smiling smiley What a lovely day! Sadly, I wasn't moving fast enough to have a second soak at Marjorie Lake, but we really enjoyed the walk.

We ran into a number of folks on the way to Pinchot Pass (which had been another favorite), and I was looking forward to a nice break there, but there was a curmudgeon who was quite unfriendly. Before I realized anything was wrong, I'd asked him to take a picture of our group, to which he said "Only if you promise to be quiet if I do." (something like that.) I was too shocked to say anything other than "OK" and we got our picture, and we did stay quiet, and he said something to A, who then tried to explain that he was a bit unrealistic wanting complete silence on a pass on the JMT! As we headed down, we chatted with some others who had been up there, and we all agreed, something wrong with that guy, and he had been a PITA for a while up there, before we'd arrived. Seriously, you want solitude and silence? Parking yourself at the trail cross-over point on a major pass on the JOHN MUIR TRAIL in peak season is NOT the way to do it. At least he could have moved further up the sides of the pass. Everyone who came up after us had their spirits dampened by the guy. You know how people cheer each other up the pass, and congratulate hitting the pass and chat about their trips? NONE of that... I know everyone has 'something'. I hope he works out whatever his something is...

Okay, lovely afternoon light as we dropped from Pinchot... And dropped and dropped. And I wondered how did we ever get to Woods Creek back when? I was quite happy that the entire group wanted to call it at Sawmill, instead of hauling further down to Woods. Again, amazingly, we found camp by 6:30 PM. I think we hit that target every day. We found that let us have a soothing evening winding down and enjoying our campsite. We still got full days of hiking in, but we didn't feel we forced ourselves past our comfort zone by pulling in near 8 PM (as in 2010). I did manage to speak to they H party on the radio and they wanted to hang closer to the trail on their own for some sister-time, which I totally understand! Only downside - the creek was infested with mosquitoes and I skipped cooling my feet directly in the water. I did, however, stick them between two 3 liter Playtpus bags for a while, which actually worked rather well! Improvisation in the backcountry is the name of the game, right?

And another gorgeous night. Major spoilage...
Re: JMT '14 - Day 10 - Double Dippin' Fun
August 28, 2014 10:15AM
In my experience it is the inexperience hiker who think they will have the JMT to themselves in July. There are so many almost empty areas in the Sierra if you just stay away from the JMT/PCT in July and August. In high season the JMT is a walking party. All the people there are there for the same reason, because they love hiking in the mountains. The grump was just in the wrong place. Maybe his stomach was bothering him.

When I came through here in 2012, a lot slower, I camped at Twin Lakes three or four miles north of Woods Creek. It was very pleasant and I had it to myself.

I love the double trip reports. Thank you. I look forward to days 11 and 12, as well as day 14. Keep it up!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2014 10:17AM by lschaaf.
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