Miles - 20
I’m awake for 6am but don’t move till 6:30am and get hiking by 7am. I get within a mile from the top and pause to eat a packet of tuna and a cereal bar - separately. My hungry hits me early after only eating snacks yesterday and nothing for tea. I keep going and make it up and over and begin the long hike down towards lakes. The mozzies return and I swat them away and squash the ones that land on me. I have an early lunch of noodles by a river and keep going. It’s only a little bit further down then I start the slow climb up Mather Pass. I find a nice spot again and sit beside the river and soak my feet. They’re pretty hard which would explains why I haven’t had a blister in a while. There are no trees so there are thankfully no mozzies. I cut my toenails and clean them best I can. I then have chocolate sauce on tortilla wraps and brush my teeth.
I walk on and get to the base of Mather Pass. I’ve been climbing gradually and soon the steepness kicks in. It’s very rocky, both large and small but I keep moving rather than stopping a lot. From the base I can’t see the trail but once I got hiking it soon became apparent and did the usual zigzagging. At the top I find a man chilling with his eyes closed. We chat briefly. The man is called David and is taking a moment to enjoy the peace he has found here. I leave him to it and pass by to chill round the corner and catch up on my journal. I eat a mars bar as a marmot and chipmunks scurry about. Another guy walks by me and doesn’t notice me. I sit in the patchy sun and look out to the distance. Alpine-like trees wave at me, beckoning me onwards. Vast amounts of grey boulders are everywhere, they made the way up slightly slippery but not unmanageable. I finish writing and eventually make a move. The trail is pretty steep on the descent so I take it easy.
It’s a long descent. Down and down and down. Soon enough the mozzies return but I maintain a good pace. The view down the valley is amazing, encaved by a rocky wall, trees line the bottom and a booming waterfall flows right down the middle. I pass a hiker and we chat for a bit, then he asks if he can follow me down. He keeps up with me and says I hike fast. His name is Brian, he’s retired and he’s hiking the John Muir Trail for a 3rd time. We pass a few campsites and find a decent one next to Palisade Creek . We chat as we eat and call it a night at 8pm.