Ruby Lake – Johnston Meadow
9680 – 8120 ( – 1,560 ft) – 10.7 miles
Free Maps Online – Day 7 – Map 13 and 12
Another night where I was not cold despite the cold air effect of sleeping next to an alpine lake!
We did a shorter day after yesterday’s exertions of Long walking (for us) and 2 passes. This was also the beginning of the descent into Devil’s Postpile and the sea of blowdowns we had been warned about back in Yosemite Valley.
There was a huge fire in the area, I think in the late 90s. And the large storm that came through recently knocked down a ton of trees. We were warned to expect 40-60 miles of blowdowns near Devil’s Postpile. I found that odd since the trail is only in that area for a fraction of that distance. We interviewed all the Northbound hikers we met to ask about the situation and discovered that the trail crews were in full effect clearing the PCT and JMT. (The Devil’s Postpile area is another where the JMT and PCT diverge for some miles.) But we still thought it prudent to allow for extra time here, and to not set ourselves up to tackle the whole region at one go.
We did have some blowdowns to negotiate, though we could see evidence of the trail crews’ work also. Much of the time we could stay on the trail and go over, under, or through. But there were a few instances where leaving the trail was unavoidable. Generally, you head for the root ball and can navigate that way, but there were also places where so many trees came down in one place from different directions that there was no clear “best” direction. Having two people saved a lot of time as we could split off and report findings on good routes through the trees.
It was a beautiful day of walking and we were ready to stop when we did. A few miles of blowdowns makes 10 miles feel like 15. Our friends the mosquitoes came back tonight, but we found a nice sandy camp amidst large rocks overlooking a fast flowing stream, donned our head-nets and got into tents as quickly as possible.
My feet are doing better. The past few days I have been sanitizing them in the morning. Then applying liquid New Skin. And finally covering the area with Duct Tape. In the evening, I sanitize again and lather on some ointment. The Duct tape stops further rubbing and I don’t even notice them during the day!
Stay tuned for Day 8 – our intrepid adventurers get a little bit turned around in Devil’s Postpile National Monument!