JMT Day 2: Back to Square One

At Glacier Point, Half Dome in the back
At Glacier Point, Half Dome in the back

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 entertaining guided tour.

Grabbing some last calories before the start
Grabbing some last calories before the start

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’re just plain crazy. You are going where? Where do you sleep? What do you eat? Is that all in your pack?

Half Dome close-up
Half Dome close-up

Of course we have to take some touristy photos with Half Dome at the background and at the trailhead sign. Today we’re hiking the Panorama Trail via Illilouette Creek to Nevada Fall, there 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.

At the viewpoint with a lot of tourists
At the viewpoint with a lot of tourists
Trailhead of the Panorama Trail
Trailhead of the Panorama Trail
The first part is a long smooth downhill
The first part is a long smooth downhill

This is still dayhikers‘ paradise so the trail is smooth and wide without any steep parts.

View to Half Dome, Nevada & Vernal Fall
View to Half Dome, Nevada & Vernal Fall
On the trail
On the trail
Going down to Illilouette Fall (lower left)
Going down to Illilouette Fall (lower left)
Illilouette Fall
Illilouette Fall

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.

Illilouette creek. There is a bridge, we're just cooling down our feet
Illilouette creek. There is a bridge, we’re just cooling down our feet
The first 'uphill'
The first ‚uphill‘

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. Nice vistas on Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Half Dome and Nevada Fall take turns as we hike along Panorama Cliff.

Panorama Trail
Panorama Trail
Burnt Forest
Burnt Forest
Deja vu: On top of Nevada Fall
Deja vu: On top of Nevada Fall

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 was so typical for the first few days on the trail:

– Where are you going?
Whitney!
– How many days?
Sixteen!

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 more of 16-days-guy.

Leaving Nevada Fall
Leaving Nevada Fall

The campground is only half a mile away, a short and easy day of hiking comes to its end. We camp again near Nick and Shenan, it is very nice to talk to them again. Also the 16-days-guy seems to have changed his mind, he is also camping here instead of hiking on.

Our tents at the backpackers campground at Little Yosemite Valley
Our tents at the backpackers campground at Little Yosemite Valley

After a nice dinner (two packs of Ramen with a freeze-dried chicken breast) everyone goes to bed „early“ (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 to get 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)

Glacier Point - Illilouette Creek - Nevada Fall - Little Yosemite Valley
Glacier Point – Illilouette Creek – Nevada Fall – Little Yosemite Valley
<<< Day 1: Waterfalls up & down <<< Day 2 >>> Day 3: Half Dome! >>>


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2 thoughts on “JMT Day 2: Back to Square One

  1. Hallo Gert
    wow.. ich sauge grade Deine Berichte über den JMT auf… Was für eine Landschaft.
    Hab gelesen, das Du 6kg verloren hast. Hoffe, das sich ein paar davon wiedergefunden haben.
    Bin auf dem Meraner 2kg verlustig gegangen und weiß, wie schwer das ist, die wieder drauf zu packen. (bei mir hats noch nicht geklappt…)
    Freu mich auf die weiteren Etappenberichte und die tollen Bilder dieser echt beeindruckenden Gegend.
    Viele Grüße aus Bonn
    Angelica

  2. Hallo Angelica,

    Wart mal ab, das Beste was der JMT an Landschaft zu bieten hat kommt eigentlich erst… 😉

    Das wieder-rauffuttern der verlorenen Kilos habe ich mir einfacher vorgestellt. Wenn man’s grade nicht braucht geht das ja meist von selbst. Noch bin ich 4 Kilo „unter normal“, aber es wird.

    Liebe Grüße ins Rheinland!
    Gert

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