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JMT Journal Day 10

August 29, 2002 Silver Pass Creek to Lake Edison and Vermillion Valley Resort 45º—71º @MHP

The next morning, I had an excellent breakfast at the cafe. While sipping coffee, planning the next leg of the trip, and reading week-old Fresno newspapers (desperately seeking but with great futility finding little information on college football) I noticed an official U.S. Forest Service vehicle drive up and a uniformed officer talking with several folks on the porch outside. I ignored him for the time being and went back to my coffee. A bit later, I ambled out on the porch and saw a large, hand-lettered sign: "John Muir Trail/PCT Closed." It went on to say that because of the "Palisade Fire" the section of the JMT beyond Palisade Creek was closed and would be closed through Labor Day weekend and they hoped it would then open, but they couldn't say. It mentioned alternatives for going through the meadow; all of which were exits from the mountains (Dusy Basin, for example). In other words, not acceptable, nor practical for the through-hiker. Through-hikers were instructed not to continue south.

I went back into the cafe to tell Todd about this and we evaluated our options. We even consulted with the cafe employee. Together we decided the most prudent thing to do was to continue on and reevaluate when we reached the fire zone. After all, it would be at least four days until we got to Palisade Creek.

We waited for the afternoon ferry, doing various maintenance jobs on our packs, bags, or feet and lolling in the sun in the meantime. We settled our bills; mine was $101, and well worth it. Finally, we got on the ferry (after a half-mile hike: the rapidly receding water line placed the ferry hookup point further out every hour). Jim was off that day, so one of the younger folks tending the business drove the boat. We departed on the same shore we had gotten on the previous day; a crowd of about a dozen was there to get on board. Todd and I hiked up a bit to Quail Meadows, where we made camp. Not a particularly scenic camp; rather claustrophobic, dense forest, obvious signs of previous horse camps around, and several widowmakers looming over us. Also, Todd would have to use his "Ursack" here; the supposedly bear-proof bag. Since he had just resupplied, he had too much food for his cannister and put some surplus in his Ursack and tied it to a tree.

The day had seen some clouds; in fact, Jim had early that day remarked that in his experience, the clouds over the mountains would build up a bit higher every day until finally unleashing a thunderstorm, then recede for a while. We had indeed seen them building up a bit every day, but so far no storm.


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