John Muir Trail Day 10: “If I can Do This Anyone Can”

 Daily Neet Beat
Ray and I in Cascade Valley


“If I can do this anyone can” said Lynn, a real character who joined us in camp last night and hiked with us for a short bit before we turned off the main trail to head for the Iva Bell Hot Springs.  It turns out the John Muir Trail can be a real social experience and there is an instant camaraderie with others who are on a similar path. I really wish I had gotten a picture of Lynn. He is 70 years old and is out here hiking around until about October. His car is in Mammoth Lakes and about every 10 days or so, he goes out to his car and gets food and comes back. He has blonde, somewhat white hair, bushy eyebrows, squinty blue eyes, a beard and is thin. He wears what a lot of John Muir trail hikers wear: long shorts, a T-shirt, trail runners and wool socks.  His legs look like wrinkled dark leather.  I stare at his legs thinking – he doesn’t have to worry about mosquitos; there is no way a mosquito can puncture his leathery skin. His socks are lose around his ankles. Turns out he sleeps out most nights and once in a while uses a tarp if it is raining. Since I grew up backpacking in a family that used tarps we get a good laugh. He says no one uses them anymore. I think this is true but tarp tents are popular nowadays which is perhaps the modern version.
Lynn joins us for the first part of the morning. We pass a group of hikers that are camped right next to Purple Lake. Lynn is very crusty and passionate about water quality so he calls them on camping to close too the water and says to them “that is not OK”.  At Purple Lake, like most lakes in the Sierras, camping is not permitted within 300 feet of the outlet and a minimum of 100 feet from the lake edge. Camping to close to the water can increase sediment load which can impact the fish. Discarded food scraps and human waste that gets into the water can also greatly disturb the ecosystem. I am glad people like Lynn care and recognize the importance of being responsible about our impact out here. Peer pressure often works better than patrolling rangers.
After we turn off onto the Fish Creek trail we meet two young guys, Aveesh and Ken.  We hike with them a while. They are going to Iva Bell Hot Springs as well. Aveesh works for Google and Ken works for Pinterest and they are from San Francisco. It is fun to share the journey.

Just the Facts
From Purple Lake to Iva Bell Hot Springs
Camp: Iva Bell Hot Springs, 7278 ft elevation
Miles: 9
Total Miles: 111
Elevation loss: 2912 feet
Photos of the Day

This piece of a bobcat leg and paw was lying on the trail. What killed it?

Anderson’s Thistle
Our own private soak at Iva Bell Hot Springs

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