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Thru-Hiking the JMT: Rosemarie Meadow to Muir Trail Ranch

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Heart Lake

Day 12 on the John Muir Trail…

John Muir Trail Day 12
Distance: 8.45 miles
Cumulative Distance: 113.1 miles
Total Ascent: 1,292 ft
Cumulative Ascent: 29,435 ft
Harrison Map Sheets 8 and 7
Today was a relatively easy day. We started just below 10,000 feet, so our climb up Seldon Pass (10,900′) wasn’t too difficult. From here, we headed down, down, down to Muir Trail Ranch for our final resupply. Yes, you read correctly. Muir Trail Ranch would be our final resupply point. That meant that we would be picking up ten days of food, which at an average of 2 lbs. of food per person, per day works out to 20 lbs. of food each of us would be adding to our backs.

Carrying that 20 lbs. won’t be the biggest challenge. Our bodies have grown accustomed to the rigors of the life on the trail. We’ve got our “trail legs.” The real challenge will be getting 10 days of food to fit inside the mandatory bear canisters.

Waking up in Rosemarie Meadow was a beautiful start to the day. The sun glistened on the lazy creek. Frost coated the grass.

Rosemarie Meadow

We warmed up with scrambled eggs (powdered, and not half bad), spiced up with slices of a beef stick and some olive oil;  and our morning coffee (Starbucks Via).

Breakfast - it all began as powder.

We warmed up quickly as we began to climb Seldon Pass, in what would become our pattern for the days ahead — climb a pass, descend, camp. Rinse and repeat.

En route to the pass the JMT took us by the crystal-clear waters of Marie Lake. It never ceases to amaze me how clear and beautiful these lakes are. We could easily pick out the trout swimming in the water.

Beautiful clear water of Marie Lake

We regrouped at Seldon Pass, breaking for a snack (Clif Bar, anyone?) and snapping the requisite photos.

Hari, Jeffrey and Jeff on Seldon Pass

Just below the pass, we paused for yet another photo opportunity at Heart Lake. Yes, that is Joan and I standing in the “V” of the heart-shaped lake. The full view of the lake is at the top of this post.

Jeff and Joan at Heart Lake

Descending from Heart Lake, we followed the babbling water of Sallie Keyes Creek, which led to none other that the twin Sallie Keyes Lakes. These scenic lakes sit side by side, and the JMT travels right between them on a narrow band of forest. We stopped for lunch, but not for long — the mosquitos were also hungry.

Between Sallie Keyes Lakes

Finally we began to descend the steep canyon walls through a series of switchbacks. At the 7.6 mile mark, we reached a junction that took us off the JMT and down towards Muir Trail Ranch.

Junction to MTR

At Muir Trail Ranch, we checked in and they started searching for our resupply packages. Due to the size, we had shipped three 5-gallon buckets. While we waited, we rummaged through the backpacker’s buckets — a set of buckets with “extra” stuff donated to anyone who needs it. We were like kids in a candy shop.

The Resupply Barn

Bad News

They found one of the three buckets — with the supplies for Joan and I. But Hari and Jeffrey’s buckets were nowhere to be found. They double- and triple-checked the storage shed. Nothing in their inventory log, although they could see that we had paid for them. We waited for the tractor to delivery today’s shipment, but it wasn’t on there. We were getting worried.

The wonderful folks at MTR felt bad for this, and promised it had never happened before. They invited us to join them for dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning, and we were welcome to scrounge through the backpacker’s cache for anything we needed.

Joan took advantage of their offer to use the hot baths, and we enjoyed an amazing dinner alongside their regular guests. Jeffrey and Hari were able to pick through the extra supplies and piece together meals for the remainder of the trip.

Hot Bath at MTR

Now the only challenge remaining was getting it all in our bear canisters.

We did not.

We ended up with some stuff that we threw into a bear bag and hung for the night. We chose the non-smelly, non-essentials, and hoped for the best.

Evening Light

Learning to Expect the Unexpected
JMT-HariWe were  disappointed when our buckets didn’t turn up at MTR. Fortunately, there was more than enough food in the backpacker’s cache that we were able to do just fine.


With any big hike like the JMT, it’s important to remember that things will not go as planned. Something will go wrong, somewhere along the way. It’s important to keep a good attitude and be flexible.

Trail Map: Rosemarie Meadow to Muir Trail Ranch

Download file: JMT-Day-12.gpx

JMT Day 12 Photo Gallery

Click on any photo to view a larger version. You can also leave comments on any photo.

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Tomorrow, we head from Muir Trail Ranch to McClure Meadow.

Originally hiked on August 8, 2010.

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