JMT Day 8: The Start of my Solo SOBO JMT Journey

Monday 8/30 7:25 PM DAY 8  📍Deer Creek  6.28 miles  2:51 hrs

Journal entry: Back on the JMT. Solo this time and I’m not sure how I feel about it so far. Loving my new 1P tent. Ice cream + beer at Reds before hitting the trail at 3 PM. A celebration to myself for getting myself (kinda) back on trail. Shit was NOT easy, but I am here. My solo JMT journey has officially begun! Only 1 SOBO I met today + actually met him on the shuttle. He commented on my hat. I thought it always said Fearless Female, but rather it says Fierce + Female LOL so that’s ME. What’s fierce mean again?! I had a sandwich for dinner that I was suppose to have for lunch at Vons, but I was so worried about missing the shuttle that I carried it the whole 6 miles to camp. My sternum strap broke before I even got on trail. It broke at Red’s so I was OK with buying a sew kit and sew it back on really quick, except they didn’t sell any sewing kits. They gave me one to borrow, but it didn’t have a needle. Anyways today’s climb was just a sneak peek at all the climbing to come. I’m staying a night at Mt.Williamson. There are so many damn bees it’s annoying. Not the best campsite tonight, but flat, decent view, close to kinda running water. Didn’t think I was going to make it this far. Apparently it’s 9.8 to Lake Virginia tomorrow. Early night for an early morning. Oh yea, Heather’s getting back on trail! NOBO on the 5th. Happy for her!

Story: It’s been an adventure just getting back on trail. After the funeral, I cracked my radiator trying to get to a campsite the night before getting back on trail. I wasn’t even going fast when I hit a big ditch in the ground. I completely missed it because the sun was directly in my eyes and just wrong place and the wrong time. I immediately pulled over on the dirt road to see what happened, and sure enough, there was liquid draining out of my engine. I stopped a few guys on a bike and asked if they could possibly let me know what I did. Did I crack my radiator? Am I safe to continue driving?

I could tell they really didn’t know, but they told me I was leaking a lot of fluid and it’s more than likely not safe to continue to drive it. I told them I would call my Dad and see what we can do. They wished me luck, after offering a ride into town, but I wanted to speak with my Dad first. Long story short- being the weekend, there was no available mechanics in town. I would have to camp out for a day and wait to see if an auto shop would be able to help me before getting back on trail. Come Monday morning, only to find out that every mechanic in Mammoth is booked for at least 2-3 weeks. It’s like a couldn’t catch a break. My mom came up with a really good idea when she mentioned asking a mechanic about storing my car in their garage for the time being since technically I didn’t need my car right away. I was going to continue hiking the JMT, so I would not need my car for at least 2.5 weeks. Found an awesome mechanic who agreed to hold my car and work on it when they can get around to it. It was the perfect solution to getting back on trail, and getting my car taken care of.

I didn’t make it to Red’s Meadow until a little later that afternoon, but I made sure to stop and treat myself to a beer before getting back on trail. A celebration for finally being back on trail, after all, that’s happened. Of course, I couldn’t leave without getting ice cream too! It was 3 PM when I set foot back on the JMT, and that’s only after getting on the wrong trailhead. Nonetheless, I was back on the JMT and my solo JMT journey has begun.

I’m not sure if the trail seemed quiet because it was later in the afternoon, or for whatever reason being, but I didn’t run into many hikers that afternoon. One NOBO hiker headed into Red’s Meadow mentioned a night camping spot a few mins from where I was, and that’s actually where I camped that night. The plan was to make it to Deer Creek, but with the late start, I opted for a spot near a smaller creek.

It wasn’t the best site, but it was a good one. and I was the only one there. My first night alone on the JMT. I was pretty sure someone would come and set up camp nearby, the site was so big- but I enjoyed it all to myself; along with my sandwich that I carried in for 6 miles. Not so bad for the first solo night.

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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.

4 thoughts on “JMT Day 8: The Start of my Solo SOBO JMT Journey

  1. I probably crossed paths with you around the 24th or 25th, give it take. I was NOBO. As hikers we see a lot of people each day so I can’t say I remember seeing you definitively, but definitely on the trail at the same time, generally. Funny how as a NOBO hiker i felt everyone was headed south, whereas SOBO hikers experienced the opposite. Been fun reading your entries and reminiscing. What a great trail. My partner and I hiked 12 days together, and me, the last week solo. Your entries are great in the way you touch on the highlights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Ron! It’s pretty possible we crossed paths, around those dates I was headed to Red’s Meadow from Glady’s Lake with my sister. With the forest closure right before Labor Day weekend, there weren’t many others on trail! I had only seen maybe 3-4 people a day after that weekend. I miss it so much! Happy trails buddy!

      Liked by 1 person

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