Round Dos. July 16, after waking up at 5:30 we packed up and headed down the road. We started talking about what the day before was, what it meant, and what we would do now. My dad asked me plainly if I wanted to continue suffering and finish the JMT or cut it short. I of course, of course wanted to get to Whitney but I just couldn't make peace with myself that we would have to do what we did the day before for another 9 days. We called my mom, talked it over with her, she said there was no shame in cutting it short, so we decided. We decided to head to the halfway point at Muir Trail Ranch, but after looking at the map we realized there was no reliable transportation from there to civilization. So we decided to stop at Reds Meadows and head into Mammoth. We went to the Toulomne Cafe and got real food! Haha, we got potatoes and biscuits (only vegan things there for breakfast). Then we went to a table under a tree and finalized our mileages to get to Reds and discussed the prospects of what we can do with the rest of our summer since we weren't going to do the whole thing. We soon finished up, taking it easy we bought some Wheat Thins and dark chocolate and Payday bars (for some sugar) and headed off. After finding the JMT out of Toulomne we hiked slowly for a few hot miles. We were tired, very tired and decided to do 5 miles that day. Once spotting a nice large slab by a stream we stopped and rested. Eating our Wheat Thins, changing out of our warmer clothes, and washing our dirty socks, from the day before, in the stream. And just like Barefoot Ted says in Born to Run, "...for sore feet walk on slippery, cold stream rocks barefoot," we did. It was peaceful as we started again and I got lost in the process, even though it was still hard. We were soon tired again and stopped on a patch of grass further up the stream and relaxed and slept. It was truly, truly peaceful, well it was until it started to rain. We cooked our lunch under the trees and got our rain gear on and, you guessed it, trudged on. It was a humid, rainy, and hard couple miles. We stopped for a bathroom break and took off our gear, but a few minutes after we did, it started raining even harder. The dark, almost black clouds and lightning and thunder that filled the valley was unnerving, but exciting. It was fun to walk the that high Sierra valley with rain and thunder and just focus on the journey. We eventually reached our campsite and when we did the rain had lessened. We setup under two beautiful pines and relaxed, I wrote about the past few days and we just hung out. But, one thing that people never tell you about in any of the books or movies of the JMT is the amount of people! I thought it was going to be remote and isolated, I expected us to be secluded and have the trail to ourselves for hours. But, that is most definitely not the case. It, as my dad described it, "The busiest, most remote trail in the world," and, "It's like a freeway!" And it totally was, it was crazy. At the area around where we camped there were so many people we almost couldn't find a private place to dig our hole for the bathroom. It was insane and the whole time we were out there it was like that. After getting over that annoyance we made dinner and coffee and it was awesome. Then it got colder, like the mountains do, and we went to sleep at around 7:00, to recover some much needed rest.
So yes July 16, 2015 was hard and fun and relaxing, it was a lot of things. It was like black to white compared to the day before, a complete opposite. But, one thing that became apparent to us on that day was the stupid minutiae of backpacking. Cooking food, setting up your tent, going to bed earlier because it's too cold to do anything else, and everything else. It doesn't make it enjoyable for me to do all of that after you already had a long day and your tired. Also one of the things that kills you out there is in Yosemite National Park when the trail goes through meadows they cut about 1 foot to 1 1/2 feet into the meadow for the trail. It's super difficult to deal with, because you're forced to use your trekking poles with your arms up or not use them at all, because the cut isn't too wide. The whole trail through Yosemite is babied almost, because when climbing up they put stones like steps and that just doesn't help at all and makes it even more tiring. But, Inyo National Park doesn't do any of that and we went into Inyo the next day and that was a fun day!
So thank you again JMT for the lessons and trials I experienced. It's made me better and it's made me humbler. Thank you.