Vogelsang to Trinity Lakes
We woke to clean smelling air, promising that the rest of the days should be smoke free. As the sun rose we anxiously looked to the sky – they were blue! The wind had changed direction, and would stay that way for the rest of the trip. Five miles in we passed Terry, a guy who we met at the permit office two days before – he was just waking up. He couldn't believe we had hiked over forty miles since we last saw him, 45 hours ago.
As we started hiking up toward Donahue Pass I was trying to keep up with Jason, who was going too fast for me. I had to remind myself to cut the cord – I must go my own pace. After slowing down a bit I felt better.
|Atop Donahue Pass|
Our legs were still fresh and lively, we practically flowed up Donahue Pass. I loved the dark blue sky that morning, solow it seemed I could touch it, while the sun lit up the mountains behind us.
Around Garnet Lake we got off trail for the first and only time of the trip by following the group of hikers in front of us, and not heeding the trial that continued around the lake. Lesson learned, blaze your own trail and don't follow the crowd.
|Banner Peak looming large over Thousand Island Lake|
As I soaked my feetsies in the lake I remembered back to the bearded guy at the Ahwahnee and his strong words of prediction – you're going to love it. Right now, where I was, feet on fire, hungry and tired, growing cold as the sun disappeared – I wasn't loving it. I had no connection to him or what he was talking about. We are having different experiences, I thought, and mine is not worth having. If this is what hiking the John Muir Trail is like, why would anyone do it?
We made due with a mediocre campsite by Trinity Lakes, although with the low water level that season it was more like a swamp that clogged up our water filter. As we set up camp and the wind howled, it was getting cold, and I was in a bad mood instantly. I felt burdened by the night, and by the unspoken promise that all nights might be like this. We were heading for the unknown and I didn't know what to expect and felt trapped by the permanence. I certainly know what it’s like to push myself to discomfort for a 100 mile race or for a long weekend in the Sierra, but never nine days. It’s the first time I truly understood the saying, the illusion of permanence is the root of all suffering.
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