John Muir Trail Day 5: Connecting the dots…

Tuesday 8/24  8:16 PM DAY 5  📍 North Fork Kings River  6.75 miles  5:03 hrs.

Journal Entry: What a day. Today, I’m most tired, feeling it tonight. Not many miles but started the day late. It was nice though; we camped near Rush Creek and had the place to ourselves. We hiked Island Pass, which didn’t feel like a pass at all. TIL was cool, it was neat seeing it from the other side. Not many hikers on the trail today, but as always, more NOBO than SOBO. Not sure why I just started my journaling without first mentioning what the heck just happened…around 8 PM today a random dog started barking, like a lot, we couldn’t hear its owner calling for it or anything, but the dog was literally barking for 15 mins straight. The only thing we can imagine is this dog getting away and running into a bear! Still shooken up, but Bratney remembered that we have to make noise if a bear comes by. She remembered that there is a whistle on the Osprey pack and blew it once. I shit you not, right after she blew the whistle, the dog stopped barking. I immediately thought to turn on the Garmin and charge it…Idk in case of an emergency. Tomorrow is an early day. We have 13.9 miles to Reds Meadow.

Story: This morning was a simple reminder of how it should be if we didn’t necessarily have a time limit. We woke up a little late, and for once- we just hung out at camp. I actually made ramen and broccoli for breakfast, I can’t remember if that was before or after I sat in the creek for a while. Either way, it wasn’t go go go this morning and that was kind of nice.

Knowing that we had to knock out Island Pass as soon as we got back on trail, we didn’t aim to start too late in the afternoon. Once we climb Island Pass, we reach the popular Thousand Island Lake. I had been to TIL a few times before hiking the JMT, and actually just did a weekend trip 2 weekends before the JMT, so it wasn’t anything too special to see, and I didn’t care to camp there for how popular and exposed it is. We needed to break there for lunch because it is an awesome lake and I still wanted Brittany to enjoy it.

Having hiked in this area before, I felt like I was connecting the dots. I hadn’t hiked the other side and now I was completing the loop. We must have spent a solid 45 minutes at TIL just snacking and taking photos. I don’t remember seeing too many campers there, but it was also a bit early in the afternoon. I heard that Rosalie Lake was a pretty place to camp, but with the time we spent at TIL, we didn’t have enough time to make it that far. We made it down to Garnet Lake outlet, before running into a group of NOBO hikers who raved all about Red’s Meadow $20 burgers. We would head to Red’s tomorrow, and a burger sounded delicious.

We ended up camping near the North Fork Kings River some miles off the JMT, but that’s only because we didn’t have any luck finding spots that were campable. Tired, a little annoyed, and hella hungry- we set up camp and made dinner. We heard a dog barking for 15 minutes, and worried that it came in contact with a bear. Our nerves raced as this dog kept barking. I thought no dogs were allowed on the JMT? Brittany remembered the whistle on her Osprey backpack and blew it once. The barking immediately stopped. It was now eerily quiet. Hard to shake what happened or what’s to come, we forced ourselves to sleep in hopes that everything and everyone would be okay.

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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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