John Muir Trail 2015: Day 2

Lake 5 from Old Army PassRain ceased for a few hours after bedtime, but we wake in the morning with the sky once again pouring and the wind howling. We prepare to hunker down an extra day at Lake 4. After a delicious oatmeal breakfast we sit around telling stories, laughing, and read- ing John Muir’s epic poetry. To our surprise the rain slowed to a halt late in the morning. We emerge from the tent to see clouds lifting and distant blue skies. Almost to the PassExcitedly we scramble to pack up and hit the trail before the rain forces us back into our tents. Our day begins by traversing around the lake. With regular- ity I look up at the impending pass. If I hadn’t trodden up this route years before I would think the pass insurmountable without some kind of scrambling. But as it was then, it is now: a gradual, solid trail that zigs and zags among boulders and granite slab until it reaches an immense plateau that marks the entrance to our first of three national parks: Sequoia. Hiking East over Old Army PassWe cross the plateau and down the other side towards Soldier Lake, a meager 6 miles from the day’s starting point. The sun is now in full bloom as we descend. We have a late lunch next to a creek surrounded with vibrant cone flowers. High peaks in the distance and towering cumulus clouds make a rich backdrop for the scene. We continue descending finding ourselves be- low the treeline once more. Wildflows in a CreekAfter a couple miles of hiking through thin pine forest we reach a lush meadow near Soldier Lake. This is where we make camp. The meadow is peaceful and calm as evening approaches. I sit next to a brook resting my feet in its cool flow. We assemble our tents, eat delicious burritos, and hit the hay. Ten more minutes of audiobook before the day’s exhaustion puts me to sleep.Soldier Meadows

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