|Blayney Hot Spring #2|
It’s officially August and I’m waking up to a zero day. I sleep in a little longer than I typically do, stretch, and have some breakfast. Kayla does yoga as I change into my rain jacket and leggings. It’s laundry time. I have two large Ziplocks from the Muir Trail Ranch resupply buckets to use for laundry. I grab some Brommers soap and head to the San Joaquin river to wash my clothes.
I scrub each article of clothing into the San Joaquin, squeezing all the grime out. I then add a little soap, water, and a couple articles of clothing into a bag, zip it up, and shake. I fill the other bag with just water and switch out my laundry to do a rinse cycle. As I return to camp, John is neatly packing away his tent. I put my clothes out to dry on a rock and head back over to the hot springs. This time to a new spot. I hike out across the muddy field and find Andy and Kayla hidden behind the tall grass on the right. It’s the other hot spring and this one’s even hotter in the center.
After a nice long soak, we decide to head back over to Muir Trail Ranch and hit the trail. We’re bored!
Andy says his knee isn’t 100% but he’s ready to get moving again. I think the hot springs helped.
We cross back over the San Joaquin with our full packs, but downstream this time and it’s better. I think the extra practice helped as well!
We take a moment to say goodbye to John Muir Wilderness. The next segment is part of Kings Canyon and Sequoia Wilderness. If you’re loving my knee braces, right knee is for treatment and left is for preventative care. And of course style.
Crossing Piute Creek on a man made bridge is pretty amazing. It’s amazing to think of the amount of work put into each section of trail.
I read in my JMT Hiker app that the San Joaquin River flows for 320 miles and was named by Gabriel Moraga, a Spanish army officer and early California explorer. I spend the next couple of hours thinking about what hiking in Central California must have been like for those early explorers.
I come to my first wire gate on the trail. These are stock gates and are used to control pack animals that the packers let loose to graze a night.
I make my way up the only big ascent of the day. I am rewarded with waterfalls and wood bridges for the effort.
Evolution Creek is much calmer than crossing the San Joaquin. At least while we are crossing it. I take off my footwear and ford the creek. It’s close to my upper thigh. If it weren’t calm I would be taking the alternative route.
Across the creek, we meet up with two dudes we just know as… “the dudes”. Some hikers on the trail get called by their first names while others get nicknames. If we come across solo hikers, we tend to remember their real names. One of those solo hikers is Eric. We end up hiking with him throughout the day.
Eric camps with us for the night so we break out the cards. We play a couple rounds of “Shithead” and this time I’m not the only one who isn’t well versed. Once again, loser does pushups. I quickly get good at this game. Eric tells us how hardcore we are, not taking our zero day and doing push ups daily. I inform him Andy and I are not doing additional workouts. Kayla and John are the real crazies!
“You don’t want to be all legs when you get off the trail,” John explains. He picks up a rock and does some crunches, inspired by another hiker, Rob’s workout the previous day.
Setting up camp is really easy tonight. I pull out my ground cloth and my sleeping bag. It’s the perfect night for cowboy camping.
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Last modified: December 6, 2014