Wednesday, July 29, 2015

JMT Day 7: Red's to Deer Creek

Day 7 on the trail was not one of the most exciting days of hiking. It was, however, one of the more fun and significant days socially. After leaving Red's Meadow Resort going south, you hit Deer Creek after 5.8 miles. You can camp there (and there are plenty of campsites and fire rings to make campfires) or keep going another 5.1 miles to Duck Creek. But there is no water between Deer Creek and Duck Creek, so most people don't want to camp in the middle. That means that, although you are hiking a pretty boring stretch of trail to Deer Creek, you'll find a lot of other hikers camping at Deer Creek when you get there. That makes for a fun night with campfires. I feel like that night at Deer Creek was when the people I was hiking alongside really coalesced as a group and got to know one another.

Before leaving Red's, we saw this gorgeous Western Tanager:

Western Tanager
Western Tanager at Red's Meadow Resort

Then we got going. The area immediately south of Red's was devastated by the 1992 Rainbow Fire. It's still missing all of its trees.

Damage from the Rainbow Fire

While you won't see trees, you will see a lot of plant life, including flowers, gooseberries, and shrubs. I also saw quite a few elder trees in full bloom.

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Damage from the Rainbow Fire

Gooseberry
Gooseberry (not ripe yet)

At one point, I felt like I was walking in a maze of ferns.

Plant Maze

At last, you reach a place with trees again.

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It isn't long before the landscape gets beautiful again, like this stream surrounded by wildflowers:

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I love this plant, Little Elephant's Head. There's also a Sierra wildflower called Elephant's Head that has a more pronounced head, ears, and trunk. This one is all trunk and ears.

Little Elephant's Head

Little Elephant Head

Before too long, we hit Deer Creek. We set up camp and met the others who were camping there with us - 15 people in total. It was a short day of hiking, and Deer Creek was a fantastic site to wash, do laundry, and socialize around a campfire. Most of the folks camped there that night planned to go on to either Purple Lake or Virginia Lake the next day, which meant we would see many of them again.

Day 7 miles hiked: 5.8 mi
Day 7 elevation gain: 1570 ft
Total Distance Hiked to date: 48.4 mi
Total JMT distance hiked to date: 37.2 mi

All of my JMT photos can be seen here.

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