John Muir Trail Day 17: Muir Hut and The Rock Monster

Wednesday, 9/8 6:15 PM  DAY 17  12.98 miles  📍 Le Conte Canyon

Journal entry: Sweet camping spot tonight at Le Conte Canyon. Pretty sure I’m like 30 ft. from the creek though. The permit says it’s okay as long as there is already an established site. I passed the ranger station today, and read a new sign from the ranger. Announcing forest closure until 9/17. It specifically said if you exit to resupply, you will not be allowed back into the wilderness. I counted today at camp, and I barely have enough food to make it to Onion Valley. I have food for 4 days and should be getting to Onion Valley in 5ish. I WILL NEED TO RESUPPLY TO STAY ON TRAIL TO WHITNEY. I am at a loss.  I have NO idea what to do. Two options, both requiring Kearsarge Pass 1. Attempt it. Original plan anyways. Most thru-hikers do this and risk it. Option 2: text Mt.Williamson ask them if I forfeit my hiker package ($225 value) if they’d be willing to drop off my resupply at the trailhead. That way- I’m technically not leaving the wilderness and I can still resupply. I have no other person to bring me a resupply and I don’t have enough food to make it 70 miles to Whitney. Just about 3-4 days too short. Wow. 70 JMT miles left. Crazy. JMT trail is like 211 miles. Crazy to think this journey is coming to an end. Now more than halfway hiked…and I still say I’m not ready to leave. The trail- the wilderness- this. This is where I belong. How? How can I make this every day? PCT? JMTx10 LMAO. This was just a taste, and I’m so ready for more.

Story: It felt like I woke up on the moon this morning. Sitting above 11k ft. Wanda Lake is pretty exposed. With only less than 2 miles to Muir Hut and the only climb I had that entire day, I took my time making my way up. I was pretty surprised to actually see the hut from the trail down below, and I made it up pretty fast.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the hut to myself, and sure enough, someone reached the hut NOBO at the exact same time I reached it SOBO. We checked out the hut and walked inside. It was pretty neat, and nothing that I imagined it to be. I was actually surprised to have been able to go inside! Lots of history at that hut, and I wanted to soak it all in, but having this guy up there with me, and I felt a little rushed. I snapped some photos of the hut, quickly chatted, and started making my way down to the Kings River.

As I was making my way down, I ran into 2 other NOBO’s making their way up to Muir Hut. We briefly stopped to chat, and I asked if they had seen any southbounders lately. “A couple camped just down below that canyon last night, and there is this PCT guy, he’s probably camped past Le Conte Canyon by now.” My friends. Firefox and friends, they were only a day ahead of me, but with the number of miles I hike each day, I’ll never catch up to them. “Ah, well- it was nice knowing you Firefox, maybe I’ll meet you on Mount Whitney..”

The hike down to the river was long. Probably the longest downhill of the entire trip. I wasn’t complaining, but damn. Downhill will take just as much energy out of you like climbing. It was hot, and even though I stopped for a water break at every creek- the downhill was just too much. I had to be grateful I was not climbing. Every chance I had to “look back at it” I was grateful to NOT be climbing up, but rather going down.

When I reached the near bottom, I was glad to have kept an eye on my maps as I would have totally passed the Rock Monster. And to be honest, I would have backtracked for Rock Monster if I had missed it. Thankfully I didn’t. Rock Moster is a famous rock along the PCT. I’ve read many stories about this rock and was surprised to see it on the JMT. Yes, the PCT and the JMT run along with each other- but I just never put the two together. Of course, I stopped and snapped a few photos. I even fixed one of his teeth that had fallen off.

Ran into some cloudy skies after passing Le Conte Canyon Ranger station, the most cloudy day since getting on JMT. I also kept running into these wooden gates; still trying to figure out what they are meant for. They are annoying and I can’t seem to figure them out. I’m finding that squeezing through the middle has been the easiest so far.

Not sure the name of the campsite, but I’m past Le Conte Canyon ranger station. No one is here, and I haven’t really seen anyone today. It’s early, like 5:15 PM and I have a pretty dope campsite near the creek. Today has been my longest day so far, 13-miles! Going to make some dinner, and soak my feet in the creek. Sunset looks like it’s going to be a good one with all these clouds in the sky.


2 thoughts on “John Muir Trail Day 17: Muir Hut and The Rock Monster

  1. We went up Muir. It was a long slog, especially toward the end. One does not see the hut until you’re nearly there. We got moving fast after LaConte, leapfrogging two other hikers and we blew right past the monster. Being we’d gone quite a ways past, we did not backtrack. Oh well. What a trip you had. The NOBO hike up Muir from the bottom was my favorite section of all. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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