Day 11: Over Donahue Pass to Lyell Canyon

29 July 2020 JMT from Waugh Lake Trail to Ireland Lake Trail (10.4 miles, +1,800/-2,500 feet). We slept really well last night to the tune of Rush Creek, undisturbed by human visitors. We enjoyed breakfast and a sunrise and were on our way. We encountered the large group that camped ahead of us right away…

Day 10: Garnet Lake, Thousand Island Lake, and Island Pass

28 July 2020 JMT Ediza Lake Trail to Waugh Lake Trail (7.8 miles, +2,200/-1,600 feet). Well, the big group the surrounded us last night really upset Flower Power.  They were camped about 5 feet away from her and decided to have a very loud conversation from 4am to 5am and shine lights on her tent….

Day 9: Up to Gladys and down to Ediza

27 July 2020 Reds Meadow to JMT Intersection with Ediza Lake Trail (9.6 miles, +3,100/-1,700 feet). It was a little louder in the campground last night than I expected, but that’s why I bring earplugs!  Fortunately, by 10pm the guitar player stopped…. This morning started with some attention to feet before we wandered around the…

Rushing to Thousand Island Lake

12 June 2020 Rush Creek Trailhead to Thousand Island Lake and back (15 miles, +5,000/-5,000 feet). Today was an extremely dramatic day!  That storm that kept us from backpacking at Rae Lakes came through and at times it nearly blew us off the mountain.  When we started our hike near Silver Lake, it was only…

Last Little Bit

Cora Lakes to Isberg Pass Trailhead (5 miles, +200/-1,700 feet). Today was pretty simple: a downhill hike back to the car.  But it still had its moments. Here’s a map of the whole trip:  

Isberg Pass

Switchbacks above Lyell Fork to Cora Lakes (15 miles, +1,900/-3,100 feet). We awoke to beautiful light on the Clark Range in the distance. And below we could hear the Lyell Fork rushing down to the Merced over steep, vast, and impossibly smooth granite slabs. Soon we packed up and headed into the woods.  Today we…

Bench Canyon

Hemlock Crossing to Lyell Fork of the Merced (10 miles, +4400/-1800 feet). I was hoping a cold morning would reduce the bug pressure, but we didn’t really have one.  The temperatures only dropped into the high 50s so the little bloodsuckers were more than happy to greet us as we exited our tents. We had…

Hemlock Crossing

Isberg Pass Trailhead to Hemlock Crossing (9 miles +2400/-1900 feet). Ever since we had to alter our Sierra High Route section hike last year, MixMaster and I have wanted to go to Bench Canyon and Lyell Fork.  It is supposed to be one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Sierra. This summer,…

Slip Slidin’ Away

Red Cones to Horseshoe Lake (6 miles, +1,500/-1,200 feet). Today was super chill.  We rented a place in Mammoth for tonight, but check in was not until 4pm, so we took our time getting up.  We had a long breakfast, and then Geo, Bee’s Knees, Ultrashuffle, and I climbed up to the top of Red…

Red Cones

Fox Meadow to Red Cones (12 miles, +3,400 feet/-1,100 feet). Today we thought we might only make it to Rainbow Falls to camp.  But that area is very close to the developed areas around Reds Meadow, and it is dusty and mostly in a burn zone.  I was hopeful we would have enough energy to…

Crater Creek

Twin Lakes to Crater Creek (11 miles, +1500/-3000 feet). I’m really lucky I get to do two trips with Ultrashuffle this year.  And on this first one, he brought family and friends! We originally planned to hike from Mammoth to Yosemite Valley on the John Muir Trail, but it’s been a huge snow year and…

Filling the Gap

Garnet Lake to Agnew Meadows (8 miles, +1,100/-2,500 feet). Our last day on trail was super easy and surprisingly pretty.  The main virtue of today’s route for me (other than the burger and beer at its end!) was to see part of the John Muir Trail I had to abandon on an earlier trip where…