Day 3

Trinity Lakes to Lake Virginia

Day 3 – Trinity Lakes to Lake Virginia
The next morning our first water source was dried up, which meant we were out of water with six miles till Reds Meadow.  We had to stop at a little swampy lake, mysterious and eerie in the morning dusk as the fog hung over it.  By this point our brand new filter was already bricked and we wondered how we'd be able to pump it for seven more days, since we stopped to get water about three times a day.  While pumping water Jason found a coin from India on the ground.  We speculated how it got there, and Jason put the coin in his bag so it could continue its journey.

a quick stop by Devil's Postpile
a quick stop by Devil's Postpile
En route to Reds Meadow we detoured off the trail a little bit to pass the Devils’ Postpile National Monument.  So many times in the past we intend on visiting this site but never did. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd finally see it while embarking on the JMT. 
In Reds Meadow we got breakfast and snacks, washed our faces, pooped on toilets, and filled our water bladders at faucets.  We charged our phones in the restaurant and frantically emailed the Muir Ranch to confirm they received my bucket for our arrival in two days – they did not.  The throng of hikers all about was awesome, and PTC emblems started poking up along the JMT blazes.  I felt like a real backpacker.  We noticed a girl who appeared to be hiking solo.  Jason asked if I would ever hike the JMT solo.  Although I've gone solo on mountaineering and cycling trips before I felt a trip of this
caliber was different.  In that moment I said 'no way.'  Thinking back I'm bothered at how fast I answered no to his question, and upon second thought, one day I'd love to solo a long trail like the JMT. 

Day three was the most boring day of the trip; the landscape is the least breathtaking.  We took lunch on a rock overlooking the gorge by Duck Lake.  We passed 13 people, the least amount of people of any day of the trip. Ten wore shorts, three wore pants.  When crossing a creek Jason stood in the middle and proclaimed, 'If I were a horse I'd just shit in the middle of the stream,' because that’s what horses did – they shit wherever they wanted.  The entire JMT is basically a trail of horse poop. People have to bury their number two six inches deep, but mounds of horseshit cover the trail we walk on, clinging to our boots and poles, and become the dust in the air, sticking to our skin.  It’s all part of the nitrate circle I guess, but I'm not happy to be a part of it.  Another annoyance of the equine are those weird grazing gates that block the trail, each one different and waiting to clothesline the inattentive hiker. 

We hiked past Purple Lake, as it reflected the blue sky and red rocks, making it purple.  Jason was in love.  Up the last push of switchbacks I spotted my first pika, my spirit animal.  I looked up at the million colors and rugosities and crenulations in the rock wall above us and pictured a watercolor in my head. An impossible task to capture, one I should take on. 

Can you spot the pika?
Can you spot the pika?
That night we camped along Lake Virginia and enjoyed what little warmth we got from the last of the sun sneaking through cumulous clouds.  We found a large boulder poking out into the lake that made an impeccable dock for dangling our feet in the freezing cold water. From the dock we bathed for the first time in three days.  We couldn't have asked for a better campsite, high on a hill along the lake, hidden in the trees.  I re-taped my feet, placing fresh strips of Leukotape on the top of each toe.  I discovered Leukotape just a few months before, and it is by far the best athletic tape ever invented.  How I went my entire collegiate and adult years without learning about Leukotape I have no idea.  The tape I put on my toes that night lasted the rest of the trip.

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