(all images are clickable for a larger version)
Today I was ready at 8:30 am and started versus Red’s Meadow. But I missed a 180° bend of the trail and walked instead on the Duck Lake Trail. After 0.2 miles uphill I recognized my mistake, and U-turned. So it was 9 am when I crossed the Duck Lake outlet on those permanent logs forming kind of a simple footbridge.
One could easily see that the trail was becoming more and more comfortable on the way north, with all these logs and bridges, compared to the fords and cobbles in Kings Canyon NP.
Today the trail went down continously from 10.200 ft to 7.600 ft. In the early afternoon I crossed the Crater Creek on a similar log bridge and went from the John Muir Wildernis into the Ansel Adams Wildernis. Now I had to double my photographic efforts!
After a long switchback one has a good view into the terrain until Red’s Meadow. A good part of this area has been devastated by the Rainbow Fire in 1992. Nature is still in the process to recover.
I reached the Red’s Meadow Resort around 4:30 pm. It felt a bit strange to see an asphalt road and a bus stop after 20 days in the wildernis.
I went to the General Store and claimed my resupply bucket. Most people around were resort guests or dayhikers, easy to spot in their clean clothes. When I started to empty my bucket on one of the tables Sandra and Carl, the swedish couple, appeared – they had arrived a bit earlier. They told me that they would stay on the resorts camp site tonight.
I refilled my bear can, put the extra set of clean T shirt and pants for the post-hike to the bottom of my pack, and exchanged batteries and toiletries. The gas cartridge I had bought at VVR was still sufficient until Yosemite valley.
Then I went to the Mulehouse Cafe, ordered a Burger and Cola, and had an early dinner. After that I went to the shower house and washed away the dirt of the past two days. I had a view on the campsite which was 10 mins off the resort, but an unfriendly custodian, coupled with a price of $23, frightened me off. The shower and the caffein had given me a push, and so I decided to continue some miles.
All in all I had felt very welcome at VVR and enjoyed my stay though the price tag was a bit high, while here at Red’s Meadow I felt just tolerated as a 2nd class guest. I recommend to skip it or stay only a short time as I did.
Lots of signs – but don’t follow the one to Happy Isles, it will not lead you directly back to the JMT! – I should have chosen “Stock Bridge” but had not studied the map enough. After running back and forth I simply took the way I had come from. Even then I had to search how to continue as the sign to “JMT north” had been broken off at the junction. I found the right trail out of several only with the aid of the Guthook app.
So it was late until I really started, and I had sunlight for about one more hour. The trail went trough Devils Postpile NM where they ban camping in general with only few allowed places. Thus I had to night-hike until 9 pm with my headlamp, to reach a spot which may not really have been legal but at least was on the side trail to the ranger station (“camping is allowed at the established camp sites close to the ranger station”). And noone passed by until I left next morning.
Today I made my best distance, including the side walks at least 15 miles, and in spite of my 2.5 h stay at Red’s Meadow Resort. With 57.5 miles left for 4.5 days I must continue to keep my pace.