John Muir Trail Day 7: Reds Meadow + Trail Exit

Thursday 8/26  11:00 PM  DAY 7  📍 Home in bed  8.40 miles 4:04 hrs

Journal Entry: Journaling from my bed tonight. It’s been a long day and even though we didn’t have to hike 10+ miles today, I’m pooped. I’m home for the next 2 days for Uncle Fred’s funeral. We made it to Reds Meadow today and the hike was pretty much downhill into Mammoth. It was hot and it was sandy. We both got a little irritated with the sand and the last uphill. RM was worth it though. I’m learning that when other people ask where you’re coming from, that they mean like where you started your journey, not where you slept last night. Our campsite at Gladys Lake was pretty cool. I have a feeling we missed an amazing sunrise. But we were up early and we made it to RM a little before 1 PM. Ordered food. I got a cheeseburger w/ fruit and a salad and Bratney got a garden burger/cheese and fruit. Then we went to the RM general store and got ice cold beers. 😊 It was the perfect ending to the first section + Bratneys ending journey. We ended up hiking 67 miles! I’m proud of her. She has a gnarly blister on her foot, making it difficult to just walk, now that we are home. I had been messaging Heather on trail w/ Garmin and I didn’t think we would be able to meet up my first section, but somehow, someway, she showed up to Reds Meadow like 10 mins after us! It was pretty special running into her after our journey to Reds Meadow. Her and her hiking partner were getting off trail for a zero in Mammoth. So we all hung out and had a few beers and took the shuttle to Mammoth. Not looking forward to funeral tomorrow, but being there for family is important.

Story: We woke up Thursday morning with less than 10 miles to Reds Meadow, where we would take a shuttle back to Mammoth and drive home for the weekend. Thankfully, it was our last 10 miles because both of our phones were dying and we had both been tracking our hike all week. With little video recording and photos, we made it down and then back up again to Red’s Meadow. We ran into a girl and her father and they were NOBO hiking the JMT and just came from Red’s that morning. It was really hot and for the first time on trail, it was annoyingly sandy. The only thing that kept us in good spirits was the ice-cold beer, burgers, and general store at Red’s Meadow. And the fact that we would be going home to a real bed, and a shower once we got home.

I had been messaging Mermaid every few days from my Garmin. She’s hiking JMT NOBO with her hiking partner, and they started the trail about 10 days before us. I had really hoped that by the time I got back on trail from the weekend off, we could arrange a day to possibly meet up. I’m not exactly sure I remember the time we hiked into Red’s Meadow, but I knew we were there when we came across the sign with like 10 arrows pointing in every which direction. I’ve seen photos of this sign many times, but never knew it was so close to Red’s Meadow! As soon as we hiked in, we got in line to order food. I got a cheeseburger with fruit and a salad, and Brittany got a cheese garden burger with fruit. Of course, we treated ourselves to a beer or 3.

That’s when I saw her. Mermaid walking out of the general store with a nice cold beer in hand. I ran up to her, nearly knocking out her beer and she was so surprised to see me. As I was her! I had no idea we were so close! We hung out for a bit, snapped a few photos, and of course, I introduced her to my sister. It was the perfect ending to our JMT journey. Mermaid and her hiking partner were zeroing in Mammoth that weekend, so we all hung out and waited for the next shuttle back to Mammoth. It was bittersweet to be leaving the trail, but now a 6-hour drive home is what I look forward to.

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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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