JMT 2019 Day 17: Back on the Trail

September 20, 2019

Onion Valley to Center Basin Junction
Day Miles: 11.5 mi
Cumulative Miles: 178.5 mi

Following the lovely family-style breakfast at Mt. Williamson Motel, we were dropped off at Onion Valley around 8:40 am. The hike back up Kearsarge Pass was not as bad as I imagined it would be prior to beginning this hike. A resupply of 4 days of food is much more manageable than 8 days of food. Based on conversation with hikers coming down the trail as I was going up Kearsarge Pass, I had missed some snow flurries and a really cold night by taking a day off. I reached the top of Kearsarge Pass by noon, had lunch at the top, and took Bullfrog Lake Trail back to the John Muir Trail. (Between my first JMT attempt and this hike, I have hiked all of the “official” John Muir Trail, except for 0.6 miles between Kearsarge Pass Junction and Bullfrog Lake Junction.)

The trail climbed out of the valley along beautiful Bubbs Creek. The smooth glacially polished granite walls of East Vidette to the west contrasted with the Kearsarge Pinnacles, pointy and fragmented by freeze thaw cycles, to the east.

I made camp around 4 pm near Center Basin Junction with a couple of southbound PCT hikers I had met at breakfast, and made some classic President brand Taiwanese stewed pork instant noodles with a vacuum sealed tea egg for dinner. I had found these treasures in the hiker buckets at Mt. Williamson Motel. Went to sleep excited to climb my last big pass — Forester Pass — tomorrow!

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