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John Muir Trail -- August 18, 2016
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John Muir TrailLiz fixing breakfast in camp

Day 2. Backpacking Day 1.
Horseshoe Meadow to Siberian Plateau

The morning was chilly, so Liz and I didn't get up too early, and then Liz fixed us a nice breakfast and packed a lunch. I planned to only hike 5 miles, so there was no urgency in getting started.

From the Cottonwood Pass Trailhead, we started on the trail together. We walked 2 miles up the trail to where things started getting steep, and ate lunch together. We parted ways with me headed up the trail while Liz headed down. After a few close-up waves and a few far-off waves, we each disappeared into the forest.

With a 50-pound pack, I hiked up to the crest of the Sierras at Cottonwood Pass and intersected the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). After resting in the warm mid-day sun while enjoying grand views east and west, I started north on the PCT. Fortunately the altitude didn't affect me too much, so it was definitely worth arriving a day early and spending a night at Horseshoe Meadow.

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Saddling up for the first time -- heavy pack!

I hiked up the PCT and then over to Chicken Spring Lake where I intended to spend the night. I set up camp, got water, lounged in the sun, and ate dinner. By them, campsites at the lake were fulling up with noisy people, and I decided to press on and find a wilderness campsite. Little did I know, this is how things are all along these trails.

I hiked on figuring there would be lots of places to lay my sleeping back, but that wasn't the case. Part of the problem was that hikers can't camp on vegetation these days. Just at dark, in an area called the Siberian Plateau, I finally found a nice flat, unvegetated place to throw down my bag.

To my dismay, I found that my headlamp must have turned on during the day draining the batteries despite the 150-hour rating. And worse, my backup light was dead too. How do these things happen? I set off my SPOT device, then sparingly used the SPOT batteries to power the headlamp.

In total, I walked 10.7 miles today (too many for a first day).

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Cottonwood Pass Trailhead
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We are going that way.
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Entering the Golden Trout Wilderness Area
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Jim and Golden Trout Wilderness Area sign
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I'm heading for that saddle behind me.
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An old trail sign
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Old trail sign
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Our first creek crossing
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Looking back at Liz crossing a stream
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Pretty hiker lady!
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Stopping for lunch with Liz
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Lunch with Liz
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Getting ready to saddle up
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Loaded up and ready to go
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Jim head up ...
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... and stopping to wave good bye
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Liz stopping to wave good bye while heading down
John Muir TrailLiz heading down and disappearing into the forest
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Approaching Cottonwood Pass
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Cottonwood Pass (view E to Horseshoe Meadow)
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Selfie atop Cottonwood Pass (view E)
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Pacific Crest Trail junction (view W)
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Starting north on the Pacific Crest Trail
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Open woodlands along the trail (view NW)
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Pacific Crest Trail at Chicken Spring Lake Trail (view NW)
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Arriving at Chicken Spring Lake (view N)
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Chicken Spring Lake (view N)
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Chicken Spring Lake (view N)
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Chicken Spring Lake (looking back from PCT; view SE)
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Heading north on PCT in late afternoon (view W)
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Smoke from big forest fire on the horizon (view SW)
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Wildflowers along the trail
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Heading north on PCT in late afternoon (view N)
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Entering Sequoia National Park (view NW)
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Entering Sequoia National Park sign (view NW)
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Entering Inyo National Forest sign (looking back; view SE)
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Hiking in Sequoia National Park (view NW)
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Pacific Crest Trail at junction to New Army Pass Trail
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Sign at Pacific Crest Trail -- New Army Pass Trail junction (view S)
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Pacific Crest Trail sign at the trail junction (view W)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170129

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