John Muir Trail Day 26: “How Glorious a Greeting the Sun Gives the Mountains” – John Muir

The sun “greeting” the Kearsarge Pinnacles
Daily Neet Beat
After a day of cleaning up and staying at the Mt. Williamson Motel and Basecamp in Independence, CA., we head back into the mountains. We enjoy the shuttle ride back to the trailhead with Strider (Cris Chater), owner of the Mt. Williamson Motel and Basecamp, and a couple from Chicago. One of them is a baker and the other is a bookkeeper. Strider has a grand vision to expand her services for thru-hikers in Independence and talks about the potential for a bakery/pastry shop in Independence. I think there is an excellent opportunity. She has already created a great reputation at the Mt. Williamson Motel and Basecamp  and many thru-hikers resupply here.  Can you imagine going out for a resupply after a week or more of hiking food and having a fresh pastry or slice of homemade bread?  There would be hordes of people.. (OK maybe a few more thru-hikers…).
We get started on the trail at 8:15am and work our way up and over Kearsarge Pass. We are making good time and actually pass a wrangler on a horse leading a mule. His name is Marco. Marco takes resupplies over Kearsarge Pass to the thru-hikers on the JMT and Pacific Crest Trail. He mentions that yesterday it was snowing and they had strong winds and hail on Kearsarge Pass. Guess we picked a good zero day in the town of Independence. We are at the pass by 10:30am.   Then down we go past the Kearsarge Lakes, Bullfrog Lake and down into Vidette Meadow. Now we start up the highest and most feared pass of them all on the JMT: Forester. It tops out at 13,200 feet. Initially, we discuss making it over the pass today but the weather doesn’t cooperate. After so many days of sunshine and no clouds, storm clouds loom over Forester Pass. We stop at tree line at 11,276 feet as it doesn’t look like a good time to be exposed to lightning. We aren’t the only ones as several other people have stopped at tree line because of the weather and are lining up to climb Forester Pass in the morning. The lighting on the mountains is amazing as the sun goes down and the clouds step into the light. We are in awe and understand John Muir’s comment “how glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains”.  It is truly glorious.

Just the Facts

From Mt. Williamson Motel and Basecamp; Onion Valley TH to just below Forester Pass
Camp: 11,276 feet
Miles: 11.4
Total Miles: 272
Elevation gain and loss: 4,331 feet up and 2,255 feet down

Photos of the Day

Marco and his mules taking resupplies to hikers on the JMT

Bubbs Creek with Center Peak in the background


Me at our campsite at tree line above Bubbs Creek and heading up the Forester Pass. Wow, clouds and possible rain??
Incredible lighting as the sun sets.

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