John Muir Trail Day 14: Muir Trail Ranch + Pringles

Sunday, 9/5  8:45 AM  DAY 14  0miles  📍 Marie Lake

Journal entry: This place is magical, I’m telling ya. There is this frequency I’ve heard since I got here and I’ve heard it all night long. It’s quiet, but loud, I can’t possibly be the only one who hears it. The water felt amazing! I got in right before 8 AM this morning and it was great.  I walked in far enough to dive in and I’m pretty sure it’s the first lake I’ve ever dived in. Got my hair wet and all.  Going to munch on some snacks before packing up + climbing Selden Pass to get to MTR today. The sounds of a zero-day are nice, but the days are too long for me to just sit around. My body is restless and I need to keep it moving. Slower paced. More stops. Rest, recover, snacks, and hit the trail. Not thinking that Seldon Pass is going to be any more difficult than the climb to Marie Lake, but all downhill from MTR from there. 😊

Still Sunday 9/5  10:40 PM  DAY 14  9.33 miles  📍 MTR/Hot Springs

Journal entry #2: Getting to MTR was awesome. My resupply was everything I needed it to be. I met Bryan at MTR right before I was headed out in search of the hot springs. I can’t remember where he is from, but he’s SOBO section hiking the PCT. We ended up camping by each other that night after a solid 3.5-hour hot spring soak. We finished an “apple juice” at the hot spring. Lol. I smell like sulfur. Anyways, not sure where I’ll make it tomorrow. McClure Meadow is the plan, then Evolution Lake- which is like 15 miles from here. Still thinking of hiking out the same way to meet back up with the JMT. A purest is what Bryan calls it. Firefox is his trail name, apparently from the AT. He’s hiked the AT, parts of the JMT, and doing parts of PCT now. Soaking in the hot springs was cool, it was really warm and my body feels good. I saw the stars from the hot spring, and even saw a small shooting star! The big dipper was out, and I’m really thinking of a morning soak before getting back on trail tomorrow! We’ll see, it’s almost 11 PM now. Lol. Oh, Ness.

Story: Marie Lake continues to be my favorite lake of them all. It was a pretty awesome morning when the sun was beaming through my tent at 7 AM. I wanted to get in the lake, but didn’t want to hike wet, and wanted to make sure I’d be able to dry off before getting back on trail. The sun immediately let me know that it wasn’t going to take very long to dry off. So I went for a morning dive at 8 AM. It was everything. The lake was completely still before I splashed, and it was so very quiet. I hadn’t run into anyone at this lake, and not until after climbing Selden Pass.

The hike up Selden Pass was actually nothing like Marie Lake. Maybe it was the amazing views I had of Marie Lake, now seen from up above- or if it was the coyote I heard howling that morning. Either way, I don’t remember struggling much on this pass. As a matter of fact, once I reached the top I climbed just a little higher for better views of Heart Lake from the opposite side of Selden Pass.

I knew I’d make it to MTR today. Which meant picking up my next resupply and PRINGLES. As soon as I remembered that I had packed Pringles in my bucket- I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I ran into probably 10-12 NOBO hikers this day, all hiking out of MTR. It was the middle of the afternoon, and they all looked like they were struggling. I was grateful to be going downhill, but it was still very hot. I didn’t catch a name, but NOBO hiker suggested to soak in the hot spring if I had enough time. I actually hadn’t known about such hot springs and was really eager to check them out. I hadn’t planned to stay at MTR overnight, I imagined it to be very busy, but when I arrive there were only 3 other NOBO hikers. They were older, and camping at MTR that night.

I scarfed down some Pringles, resituated my bear canister, and pack; when Bryan hiked in. He looked rough, tired- as all thru-hikers did, but I wanted to know his story. I offered him some Pringles, and we ended up hanging out for the rest of the night. We crossed the river to get to the hot springs, I found a spot to set up camp, and then we literally soaked in the hot spring for 3.5 hours! It was pretty neat, and probably only the 2nd time I ever soaked in a hot spring under the stars! It was definitely the latest I went to sleep that night, but it was well worth the 3.5-hour soak.

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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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