August 10, 2014
John Muir Trail (JMT)
Day 7 – Trinity Lakes (8,990ft) to Red’s Meadow (7,500ft).
Approximately 5.5 miles.
Stayed the night in a bunkhouse room at Red’s Meadow Resort.
Woke to yet another cool, clear, still morning. This is beginning to become a pleasant habit. The sun lights the small meadow lake as we’re eating breakfast and I take the time to snap a few shots of the wildflowers along the shore in the magic of the early morning light.
Today we have a short day down to Red’s Meadow made faster by an even downhill dirt path without much of a view to distract me.
Just past Trinity Lakes is Johnston Lake, another pretty meadow lake. At one point peak views are visible through the trees, but otherwise it’s just forest with still plenty of evidence of the 2011 windstorm.
Nearing the PCT junction we pass as impressive rock gully and can hear the stream roaring through a narrow channel. Unfortunately the slope is too steep to get a good view.
At Devils Postpile we take the short cut through the National Monument and take the loop trail around this striking example of basalt columns, claimed to be the highest in the word.
The loop trail has views of the columns from both below as well as from the top of the columns. If you have seen similar formations, Giant’s Causeways of Northern Ireland for example, or are not that interested in geology the climb to the top to see the flat hexagon pattern of the top of columns may not be worth the effort.
The lower half of the loop passes along the bottom of the columns and is an easy shortcut that intersects with a trail leading to Red’s Meadow. Where the trail starts to climb on the south side of the loop is the Rainbow Falls trail junction.
Be sure to take a peek at the formation to your right, impressive in the late morning light, before starting up the trail.
To continue on to Red’s Meadow take the Rainbow Falls trail to the turnoff for Red’s Meadow. At the time of writing the trail that parallels the road between Red’s Meadow campground and the resort was closed. Thus we had to walk up the road (turn right) to the resort. On the left side of the road there is a cut off marked “Store” that heads into the “resort” which is really a compound with hiking services and various grades of accommodations than a true resort.
The resort compound is comprised of a general store, café, restrooms, and a building with men’s and woman’s shower rooms as well as a laundry room with two coin operated washers and dryers. Showers are purchased at the general store with rental towels available in addition to quarters and soap for the laundry facilities. All facilities are reasonably clean and a welcome treat after seven days on the trail.
We got a newly built bunkhouse room still smelling of fresh paint on a late reservation.
The spacious room had minimal furnishings including – bunk beds with sheets but only a thin blanket requiring the use of a sleeping bag to keep warm, a night stand useful for climbing into the top bunk as there is no ladder, and a futon for a third person. Bathroom facilities are across the compound.
In the afternoon the place is hopping with through hikers claiming their restock packages and day hikers catching the shuttle bus back to Mammoth.
The weather this evening is fine with little threat of thundershowers.
Dinner at the café served at 5:45PM with a reservation includes – a green salad, main course of the day and a choice of pie. Without a reservation you can order sandwiches and burgers off the regular menu.
The evening’s meal was baked ham with sautéed vegetables and rice. Although nice to have fresh veggies, it was not the most inspired meal.
The “homemade” pie was canned filling in a prepackaged pie crust – great for stocking up calories but again not noteworthy.