John Muir Trail Day 2: First Full Moon

Saturday 8/21/21 10:27 PM DAY 2  📍 Lower Cathedral Lake  10.50 miles 7:35 hrs

Journal entry: Early-ish start, 9AM. 1 NOBO hiker before breaking camp. Slept great. Big dandelion on trail. More NOBO hikers. Change into shorts 10 AM. Ran into SOBO couple hiking entire JMT. Running low on food. Goal to make it to TM today. 14 miles total. Big climb, took long. Then all downhill. Break at Cathedral Lakes. 4 miles to TM. No 5.5 miles. Decided to stay at Lower Cathedral Lake. A bit out of the way, but worth it. Full Moon tonight. Sick camp spot. 6 miles to TM. Glad we stayed at the lake tonight, not TM. 1st resupply tomorrow. Looking forward to burritos! Tomorrow big climb Donohue Pass out of Yosemite. Day after tomorrow. Tomorrow is 9-10ish miles. Interesting to have to carry 5-days food. Right before “dinner” found a bottle of white wine hidden in a tree stump! Didn’t trust it. Kinda opened. No scent! Left alone. Bright ass moon. Took forever to rise. Almost over an hr! Cool night shots. Maybe? Time to smoke a joint and knock out. Late night. Feels good. Charging crystals under full moon. Found smoky quartz at camp. Tired, but not over it.

Story: We woke up pretty early, and got on trail by 9 AM, and already by 10 AM we were probably less than a mile away and already wanting to change out of our layers. A quick change out of leggings and into shorts! We ran into an older couple who said they were hiking the entire JMT, and that we might run into them along the trail. They didn’t know that we had plans to exit the trail at Red’s Meadow for a family funeral that weekend, and we only ran into them again later that evening.

Our goal for the day was Tuolumne Meadows to pick up our first resupply, but after a big climb, and a long dry stretch we stopped at Upper Cathederal Lake for a quick snack. We thought it was 4-miles to Tuolumne Meadows, but for whatever reason when we passed a sign between Upper and Lower Cathederal Lakes, it was actually 5.5 more miles- an entire 1.5 miles more than we cared to do. We quickly determined if we had enough snacks for dinner, and enough food to get us to our next resupply. We opted to stay at Lower Cathederal Lake, even though it was a bit off the JMT, and even though it was nearly a quarter mile to get to camp.

Our campsite for the 2nd night on trail was way better than our site near Sunrise Creek. We chilled for a bit before setting up camp, and quickly remembered there would be a full moon that night! Right after setting up, I found a smoky quartz right at camp, it was all very surreal. I’m pretty sure I had tuna and crackers for dinner, and Brittany had beans dip and Fritos, right after finding an entire bottle of wine stashed in the tree! We were just coming up on all the goodies at this campsite! We contemplated, for awhile actually- if this was fate, or a bad idea, and later determined that it was not safe; for all we knew it wasn’t even wine!

Tonight would be the latest we stayed up on trail, and thanks only to the full moon that night. We each brought out the crystals that we carried with us on trail, so they could charge under the full moon. We cheered to the rising moon as it finally started to peek over Catherdal Peak. We stayed awake snapping night shots, and running around our campsite hoping that we weren’t too buzzed thinking we were capturing some really epic night shots. Knowing we had a big day tomorrow, we called it a night as the full moon illuminated not only our tent, but the entire lake.

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Vanessa is an outdoors enthusiast, hiker at heart, and the storyteller behind Forever She Wanders; a women's lifestyle + travel blog inspiring all to get outdoors, seek adventure and live an active lifestyle. As an outdoors enthusiast, Vanessa has found passion in being outdoors while backpacking, camping, hiking and creating memories of a lifetime.

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