After yesterday’s nice warm-up hike I can officially start my John Muir Trail hike today.
Kevin and I take the bus from the Yosemite Lodge up to Glacier Point. At 25$ (one-way) it is not too cheap but this way we can avoid having to hike up to Glacier Point via the steep Four-Mile-Trail.
And the bus ride turns out to be an informative and very entertaining guided tour.
At the post office in Yosemite Valley I mail some postcards and use the opportunity to check on the status of my resupply package. Good news: It is already waiting for me at Muir Trail Ranch. Hence I do not have to worry about arriving there before my food.
Once we arrive at Glacier Point a guy asks me which trail we will be taking “down”? The Panorama Trail or the Four-Mile-Trail?
When I respond The 211-Mile-Trail! he does not even remotely get the joke and once he starts realizing what we’re doing – You’re not going down? – he decides that we are just plain crazy. You are going where? Where do you sleep? What do you eat? Is that all in your pack?
Of course we have to take some tourist-style photos with Half Dome in the background and at the trailhead sign. Today we’re hiking the Panorama Trail via Illilouette Creek to Nevada Fall, where we will reach the John Muir Trail again. From Nevada Fall it’s just a matter of minutes to our destination for tonight – the backpackers campground in Little Yosemite Valley.
This is still dayhikers’ paradise so the trail is smooth and wide without any steep parts.
At the crossing of Illilouette Creek we make our first break to cool our feet. The water is surprisingly warm (20°C = 68°F) so we stay for a while and enjoy the sun.
After crossing the creek the first little uphill section awaits us, then the Panorama Trail turns flat again and it becomes clear why it has gotten its name. Very nice vistas on Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Half Dome and Nevada Fall are taking turns as we hike along Panorama Cliff.
When we reach Nevada Fall we take a second break and another hiker with a big pack comes along. Kevin classifies him instantly as doesn’t look like a JMT hiker. But then we have the conversation that is so typical for the first few days on the trail:
– Where are you going?
– How many days?
We are planning on hiking twenty days. He says he’s continuing to Sunrise High Sierra Camp today so we’re not expecting to see much more of 16-days-guy.
The campground is only half a mile further up the trail, a short and easy day of hiking comes to its end. We again camp near Nick and Shenan, it is very nice to talk to them once more. Also Mr. 16-days-guy seems to have changed his mind, he is also camping here instead of hiking on.
After a nice dinner (two packs of Ramen noodles with a freeze-dried chicken breast) everyone goes to bed early (that is 9 pm). The first night on the trail, looking forward to tomorrow!
The route via Panorama Trail is much nicer than starting from the Valley at Happy Isles. In case I will ever hike the JMT again I will choose Glacier Point over Happy Isles when applying for a permit. This time I was just lucky not getting my first choice in the lottery 😉
Distance hiked on JMT: 0.6 mi / 1.0 km
Distance hiked off JMT: 5.2 mi / 8.4 km
Elevation gained: 900 feet / 270 meters
Time spent hiking (including breaks): 3:00 h
Map of Day 2 (red = JMT, blue = other trails)