Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 66 (7/22) Vermilion Valley Rest Day

Today was billed as a rest day, but that didn't mean I wouldn't be getting up early.  In fact, I had a great sense of urgency this morning because I had to make it 6.5 mikes to the ferry by 9:30 or against I would have to walk an extra 4.5 miles. That was an easy choice. I was out of camp by 6:30 and cruising up the trail. The first mile or so featured the remaining climb up Bear Ridge, followed by a long descent into Vermilion Valley and Lake Thomas Edison. I made great time on the climb, and easily cruised down the switchbacks into the valley.

On the way down I was treated to some sweet views of the Vermilion Cliffs. I swear these were the stock material for some artists drawing their idea of cliffs where dragons would live in a fantasy world. No kidding, I bet any gamer worth their salt would recognize these cliffs, and think to themselves 'Thar be dragons'. I snapped a few photos and smiled to myself about this esoteric connection.

Photo: Vermilion Cliffs

I finished off the trip to the ferry, only to find that it wasn't running today. Instead they were taking small fishing boats across the lake all morning, so the rush was a bit unnecessary. I came across with a southbound JMT hiker from Canada who had hiked that trail a few years prior. It was neat talking to him during the 20 minute ride across the lake. He's a teacher, so this is the perfect trail for him as it lasts only three weeks, and goes through some of the most scenic areas of the country. When we guy to the resort I ran into Boyscout, Karma, Number One and Jeanie who had been hanging around for the last few days. There were also a bunch of JMT hikers around, all a few days into their hike and just about to enter the best part of their trip.

I blew through the remaining half of Boyscout's breakfast burrito, then a tall stack of pancakes as well. For lunch I took down fish and chips, and then a burrito for dinner. I also snacked on extra JMTer food; Ana and her partner decided they didn't want their trail mix anymore. Most of those hikers had extra food because they haven't really hit the hiker hunger we experience, so they have plenty of food to spare. There are only 5 of us from the PCT and probably 20 from the JMT. We all chilled out and enjoyed some beers (first one free!) and talked about our hiking experiences both here in the Sierras and around the world. Someone had done the GR20 in Corsica, another had been to Turkey and Korea, another in Spain, plus people had been all over the US. Lots of hiking to do out there after I finish this particular trail.

Miles Today: 5 (+1.5  off trail)
Trip Mileage: 879

Photo: Boat ride across Lake Thomas Edison

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