John Muir Trail Day 4: “Gem Lakes” and Our First Big Passes

Beautiful reflection in front of Mount Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park at 13,120 feet


Daily Neat Beat
Got up to a cool morning and got started around 6:30am.I am now getting used to having cold coffee with a chocolate breakfast essentials breakfast drink and an instant Starbucks Via. Starbucks Via’s dissolve in hot or cold water so I hope they never get rid of them.  We krept by other hikers camped around Lyell bridge and headed up the first of the major passes, Donohue,  on the John Muir Trail. The first few hours are my favorite part of the day. Cool, quieter, and the lighting is incredible.
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful although we went through some of the prettiest country I have ever seen. We went by the spectacular 1,000 Lake, Ruby Lake, Emerald Lake, and Garnet Lake. The views were incredible from both Donohue and Island passes. When we hiked over Donohue we existed Yosemite National Park and entered the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area in the Sierra National Forest.  We saw a lot of people hiking today. This area is not too far out from Mammoth Lakes and it is probably getting close to the last vacation days for families.

Just the Facts
From Lyell Bridge/Maclure Creek to Shadow Lake Trail Junction
Camp: at trail junction JMT and Shadow Creek Trail, 9007 feet
Miles: 13 miles
Total Miles:  52.2 miles
Passes: Donohue (11,074 ft), Island (10,225 ft)
Elevation gain and loss:
Weather: Hot and dry but since we were above 9,000 ft it wasn’t as hot.

Photos of the Day

Ray and Kerrie at Donohue Pass, the first of the big ones

Paintbrushes and creek
Kerrie hiking in front of Thousand Island Lake.
This rock has been polished and ground from the last glacial event, around 20,000 years ago. The striations, or lines, show the direction the glacier advanced or retreated.

One comment

  1. There is nothing better to a geologist than hearing travels through the eyes of another geo-soul.

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