|Leaving Reds Meadow, going through an area previously burnt by forest fire|
|Camp at Deer Creek|
The next section was great, a long traversing path (?5 miles) with great views over the range. Lake Virginia was of particular note on this stretch of the trail. Its also very spectacular when you suddenly arrive at a vantage point overlooking the Tully Hole (meadows) far far below. Eventually we camped after big metal bridge with great views of a massive pyramid shaped mountain that appeared to have cool (but hard) climbing on it (must look it up!).
|The great panorama trail|
|Lunch stop at Purple Lake|
|Lake Virginia, the views opened out here|
|Camp in the spooky woods after the metal bridge/Tully Hole|
|Last evening light on the mountain|
|Heading up to Goodale Pass next day|
We'd heard at Reds that the ferry at Edison Lake had stopped running 10 days earlier, which would have meant another 5 miles on top of our 12 mile day to get to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR) for our first and only zero day (American term for a rest day - you go zero miles!). Because of this it made much more sense (more direct) to go over Goodale Pass as we'd heard from numerous people that the walk along Edison Lake (now drained for the year) was a slog. This was a beautiful route, once off the JMT the trails got quieter, wilder and less well maintained. I'd love to know the story behind the Graveyard Meadows area that we passed through (anyone?).
|Spooky but beautiful graveyard valley|
|Lunch time (peanut butter again)|
|Finally a zero (rest) day at VVR|
|Lake Edison (drained) - wheres all the water gone....|
This next section should again be called the 'Lake Distict', one beautiful lake after another as we crossed Seldon Pass (10,900ft) and started the 3400ft descent to Muir Trail Ranch (MTR - they like abbreviations on the here). We started to see day trippers coming up from the ranch at this point.
|Marie Lake (I think!)|
|Looking back down at the Lake from the Seldon Pass|
|Next valley, now just 3,300ft of descent to Muir Trail Ranch|
MTR is an unusual operation, a ranch 'off grid' that has loads of horses, has rooms and claims to be 'your wilderness basecamp'! Also its half way along the JMT and the last place that you can post yourself a food resupply before the last 100 miles of hiking. We collected a resupply here and it costs $55 for this service (MTR charge). They must make a good income from this, some days in the short summer season (the ranch closes and is derelict in the winter due to the snow) they have over a 100 buckets/hikers a day. 100 x $55 = $5,500 per day - nice.
The hiker resupply operation is run by Pat a real character, very nice but also very formidable (she told me no ticket no bucket as I frantically searched for my pickup ticket!). She'd worked on the footpaths in this area for many years and had been at MTR for 12 years (I think), we had a great chat about climbing and she said she has always wanted to visit Wales, and asked me about the mountains here and why they are so special - I hope she fulfills her dream.
After sorting out our food, we forded the river (exciting) and soaked in the nearby hot springs. I enjoyed it however you are basically sitting in a hot murky, muddy puddle, not sure if we would rush back.....
|Pat, Queen of the buckets at Muir Ranch, she runs a tight ship (shed)|
|Benches with shade to sort out your food resupplies|
|Catching up with diaries at camp just South of Muir Ranch|
P.S. Don't worry the next post is the final one about the JMT!