9th September 2019
Reds Meadow – Emerald Lake
16.1 miles
Total miles: 196.1


I felt like I had a great nights sleep. The ground was nice and flat and it was fairly warm and the white noise of the creek helped to send me off to sleep. 

It wasn’t warm however when I woke up and it just seemed to get colder. I packed up my stuff and there was condensation on the tent fly, I shook it out and laid it on the picnic table to maybe dry out a bit. It did dry, it turned to ice! 

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I had a play fight with the empty Twix bag and Walker which warmed me up a bit! Noreen then drove us back to the main Reds Meadow resort where she treated us to breakfast. It was even cold in the cafe. I was not looking forward to walking. I just wanted to stay in the cafe and have hot things. But eventually we had to get ready to leave. I popped to the shop and got a Mountain House meal and some cheesy Doritos and a Gatorade to fill up my water bottle. 

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We took the devils postpile route out and we had made it about 10 paces before we found a patch of sun to stand in and warm up. I even started hiking with my puffy and my jacket on, knowing full well that I would last 2 minutes before having to delayer. It was more like 15 minutes but as soon as we started going uphill it got hot. 

We hung around devils postpile for a few minutes and continued on, and we saw Noreen again who had driven round to the trail head to surprise us and say one more goodbye! 

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After that the JMT and the PCT split for 14 miles and I now got to take a trail I have never walked before. Downside to that is I am using the PCT app and it shows the JMT as an alternative route but doesn’t give any info about elevation or water sources or camping. So today we would stick together as Catwater has all that information. 

There is a lot more elevation gain on the JMT that than the PCT option but the JMT is a lot more scenic. It was a climb straight away, and we made a bit of a mistake about water, the stream we were heading to was dry and so were the few after that. The weather had completely turned and it was now baking hot and I was nearly finished my Gatorade. 

Thankfully we were in the shade of the trees for most of the day but it was still very hot, until the wind blew, which it did often and then it was very cold. 

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We passed so many people heading the opposite way to us, we didn’t count today but it was easily over 100. We just kept trudging. We both felt quite lethargic, a bit like you do the day after a zero day, like it’s hard to get moving again. 

We found a lake to get some water from and then we had a big set of switchbacks downhill which we were very glad we weren’t going up. Then another 3 mile uphill which seemed to go on forever and ever. Catwater had eaten cheese for lunch so she wanted me to go ahead and I was a few minutes ahead of her for most of the way. I was judging the uphill by the contours on the map and every time I thought we were done with the uphill there was more. I came out into an area which was surrounded by a wall of rock and could immediately see that the only was out was up. The climb up wasn’t too bad, rocky switchbacks but not too steep. It was such a relief to get to the top. 

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After that it was downhill again to another lake and we had to walk around the edge of the lake all the way around to the other side. The wind really picked up and we were concerned about getting a sheltered camp spot. The wind was so cold it went right through you. Another mile of climbing and then down to another lake, and across to another lake. The lakes were very pretty and there is still a fair bit of snow hanging around that will probably stay until fresh snow falls on it in a few weeks time. 

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We were both feeling very tired and ready to be done and we decided to stop half a mile before our intended goal, just because we found a sheltered spot not too close to the water so hopefully it won’t be too windy and they won’t be too much condensation. We are preparing ourselves for a cold night. As soon as we stopped we quickly got our tents up and the stuff thrown in and we trekked down to the lake to get water. We have our routine pretty set and we were both ready to get water at exactly the same time. 

After that it’s in the tents, warm clothes on, things blown up and organised and then we wait until 6pm to eat dinner. I didn’t have to cook tonight, I had 3 pieces of pizza which were delicious and filling but I probably could have done with something hot. 

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Normally I sit upright for as long as I can so I don’t fall asleep too early but my legs were really sore tonight and I was desperate to lie down. Lying down felt good! My legs are throbbing and my feet are zinging. Not sure why that has just started today. 

I am already bundled up in everything I own. I will need to get out and have a wee at some point soon and I really don’t want to get out of my cocoon. It feels like things may freeze tonight. 

The dust on the trail today was crazy. I feel like I have dust everywhere. In my eyes, up my nose, big dirt bogies and crusty sides. It felt so good to blow my nose when I got to camp. It’s in my mouth and down my throat and in my lungs. 

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