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2007-06-15 The lovely Lyell

June 15th, 2007

After a steep drop off from our campsite Lucky Joe and I found ourselves at the southern end of Lyell Canyon, its lush grassy meadow spread out before us and the river we crossed last night as a torrent at the top of steep rapids now silently meandering down the middle. The sun was already vapourising the dew as we stopped to look at one particularly perfect bend in the river. It was so clear and pure it just had to be swum in. Oh boy was that ever cold but what a rush.

PCT sign

Lyell Canyon

PCT sign

PCT sign

PCT sign

The valley walk was maybe 7 miles long and we stopped a number of times to admire the meadow and the snow speckled granite mountains that fed the river. Eventually we reached the end and spent most of the day outside the Tuolumne general store. A nice father and son (who was hiking shoeless and with a kid sized external frame pack) bought us burgers, which I later supplemented with a pint of icecream, a big bag of crisps and another burger. As he left he slipped us something labeled “The Room” and I took it graciously even though I knew what was inside. The back cover said “the answer to your problems”. I wasn’t aware I had a problem. I’m out here in the most amazing scenery, having the time of my life. I’m doing this because I can, because I want to and because hundreds if not thousands of people have helped create this trail to make it all possible. Their work has been particularly visible in the last few days. Extensive rock work has gone on to create steps and paths since Red’s Meadow. It doesn’t rival the forces of nature but it does make my passage a lot easier.

Tonight I sleep in Tuolumne Campground. I’ve driven the road outside a few times but never thought I’d be camping between the trees with 850 miles under my feet.

PCT sign

Tow Away Zone

Lucky Joe’s girl has turned up so he’ll be occupied for the weekend. Like all my hiking friendships we have to go our own ways eventually, but luckily it’s all on the same 2ft wide line leading to one place. With a bit of luck I’ll run into all of them again somewhere, even if I have to invite each and every one to NZ.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at John Muir Trail

Distance today: 0 miles. Total distance: 788.5 miles

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