Friday, July 17, 2015

John Muir Trail, Day 1: Happy Isles to Little Yosemite

I began at Happy Isles, and naturally, I needed to get a photo at The Sign:

Me at The Sign

Soon after starting, I ran into an old friend:

Gaping Keckiella

Gaping Keckiella

I remembered seeing this flower all over the Yosemite Falls trail last summer, but I couldn't remember its name. After several hours of hiking, it came to me: Gaping Keckiella.

Bottom of Vernal Falls
Bottom of Vernal Falls, from the bridge

Soon after taking the shot above, I saw the junction for the Mist Trail and the JMT. I took the Mist Trail. It was steep, and my pack was so heavy I could hardly carry it, but I enjoyed the flowers and waterfalls.


Hansen's Larkspur

Larkspur... not sure why it's this color instead of purpleLarkspur
Larkspur close up

Cool looking bug

Pretty soon, Vernal Falls came into full view:

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

See the look on his face? He's plotting to steal your food.

Up until this point, the trail was extremely crowded with tourists who were hiking up to the top of Vernal Falls. It thinned out after heading up toward Nevada Falls and crossing this bridge:


Still, most of the people I met were day hikers or people just going up to bag Half Dome, not JMT hikers.

Nevada Falls
Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls was extraordinary too, but I was getting tired of carrying my heavy pack. I tried to take a 10 minute break once every hour, actually sitting down and taking my pack off. I forced myself to eat too, because I get sick to my stomach when I hike sometimes, and if I don't eat, I get even sicker. Eating is difficult but it always makes me feel better. Plus, I still had some nice treats with me, like hard boiled eggs.

Nevada Falls

Currants, Not Ripe Yet
Currants growing along the trail, mostly not ripe yet. I ate a few anyway. (And stuffed my face with the raspberries growing around Curry Village.)

Nevada Falls

View from the Mist Trail
The view from above

At a certain point, I was just pooped. I sat down and rested for a while. Several people came past me and said I was literally right around the corner from the top. I've learned not to believe most information like that given by others on the trail, because people are often wildly inaccurate when they tell you how far you are from the end. This time, fortunately, they were right. When I got up and continued, I reached the top in no time. Then it was just another mile to Little Yosemite Valley.

The Bathroom at Little Yosemite Valley
This is the solar composting toilet at Little Yosemite Valley. It stinks just as bad as any other latrine, but at least if you use it, you don't have to pack out your toilet paper.

My Campsite at Little Yosemite Valley
My campsite at Little Yosemite Valley

I didn't take any more pictures after that point because I was too busy making friends, washing my clothes, and taking a dip in the Merced. Also worth noting... another hiker told me he saw 4 rattlesnakes at Little Yosemite Valley. I did not see any, but it's good to know you should look for them just in case.

Day 1 miles hiked: 3.9
Day 1 elevation gain: 2090 ft

All of my JMT photos can be seen here.

Previous JMT posts:

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