John Muir Trail Trip Report

Day 5

13.9 miles

August 24, 2011

Reds Meadow
to Purple Lake

Day 5 Profile
JMT Day 5

Day 5
Day 5
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Up early today. I want to hit the trail as soon as possible, but REALLY wanted that breakfast at Reds! So....... up at 5:30am, and at Reds Cafe at 7am when they open. Pancakes, eggs and some pretty good coffee. Now that is the way to fuel up for the day! I was hiking by 8am. Another warm night, 50 degrees. And an EARTHQUAKE! Yep. I was woken up in the early morning with the ground shaking and rolling. My first thought was, Mammoth is a volcano, right? Red Cones just down the trail, right? Took me about 45 seconds of worry and then I rolled over and went back to sleep. Figured if it was the end of the world I was in the right spot for my last minutes!!

Burned area past Reds
  Burned area past Reds...
  ...that is recovering and supporting new life

I am not quite acclimated to the elevation yet, and not quite ready for doing 14 miles. That being said, this section of trail is actually one of the easier sections on the JMT. Less rocky with an easy grade so although there is a fairly significant elevation change, it isn't difficult. I reached Duck Creek at 2:15pm, and was tired, but kept going. It was Purple Lake or bust! Even with making my goal of Purple Lake, it means a 16 mile day tomorrow. Yikes.
I finally hit Purple Lake at 4pm. Headed up along the Ram trail for about 1/5 mile to the same campsite I used last year. It was available! Perfect, large site with access to both Purple Lake and a stream close by. There really aren't any good spots to make camp next to Purple Lake, so if you are looking for a great spot, head up the Ram trail for just a bit.

Beautiful wildflowers
Beautiful wildflowers
  Wildflowers past Reds

This was my first day of complete solitude. I took a swim in Purple Lake, set up camp and enjoyed the peace and quiet. This was a night for stargazing. There are large, fairly flat granite rocks made just to order right in my campsite, so I happily found a stargazing rock and spent an hour after dark watching the amazingly clear skies. The Milky Way is so pronounced when the sky is this clear and dark.

I brought some of those Coghlans Mosquito Coils on this trip. I was very skeptical. I have used Citronella and found it to be ineffective. However, these little coils really seem to work! They appear to reduce the number of mosquitoes by 80% (a very scientific measurement). I lit 3 or 4 coils, spaced them 10 feet apart in a circle around me. When I left the circle, I was bombarded by mosquitoes. When I went back into the 'coil zone' I still had a few brave moskies make it through, but significantly less than outside the zone. Repeated trials over several days produced the same results. It felt about 80% better, so that is my 'scientific' guestimate of the effectiveness. All I know is that it really did make a difference...

I am going to get up even earlier tomorrow. The VVR Ferry will leave at 4:45pm, whether I am there on time or not! 16 miles... OK, I did this section (without the last 1.6 miles) last year, so I know I can do it. It is more about mental than physical at this point. I really want a zero day at VVR.

Deer Creek
View on the way to Deer Creek
Between Reds and Deer Creek
Between Reds and Deer Creek
Deer Creek
More stunning views

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