So I am sitting here in the Little Yosemite Valley backpacking site. What an incredible first day on the trail. Yesterday Ray and I were greeted with family who showed up to see us off. It is so exciting to have family members share the experience. Thank you very much Mom, Kirk, Kyle, Michael, Ryan and Audrey!! It was blistering hot, though. In Yosemite Valley, it was 98 degrees. While they were with us, we hiked to Yosemite Falls and shared a last meal together (at least a last hydrated meal). So nice!
I have decided to write a daily journal for the John Muir Trail in a way to capture the data, musings and thoughts. I am going to put information under several headings: Just the Facts, The Daily Neet Beat, and Photo of the Day.
Off we went down the trail and we’re just getting to the climb up by Vernal Falls when we saw a bear! It hadn’t even been a hour!! This is definitely a good sign for our hike. The bear was below the trail next to the river and ripping up logs looking for bugs of some kind. Ray got a good picture of it – it had a yellow tag in one ear and a white tag in another ear. Check out the picture below. Later we learned that this bear was a 2-year old female named “White 10” that liked to hang out in Yosemite Valley. The Park Service was glad to hear she was eating “natural food”.
We got to the Little Yosemite Valley a little after 9am and set up our tent. Yep, pretty early for camp but we had only hiked 6.1 miles. We at least beat the heat and sun climbing up the switchbacks near Vernal and Nevada falls. Although we were backpacking, Little Yosemite Valley is more like a regular campground with restrooms, sites, a campground boundary and a ranger station nearby. In the evening, park employees came around and made sure we had a permit and talked to us about the bears and how to make sure they don’t get any food from you. Reminds me of when I was a Park Ranger in Katmai National Park in AK giving very similar talks about how to behave around bears. What was interesting in Little Yosemite Valley is they have a group of roving park rangers who using radio collars and tracking devices. They proactively try and keep bears out of the campground by scaring them with spray guns, loud noises and pepper shots. Despite their best effort, at least one bear has learned if he goes around and knocks bear canisters over, sometimes people haven’t latched them well and he can get food. The rangers are trying to recondition these bears to see the campground boundary is one which they shouldn’t cross..
Photo of the Day