Wednesday, February 12, 2014

John Muir Trail: Day 17 — Edison Lake to Bear Creek

After stuffing ourselves on breakfast burritos and pancakes at Vermillion Valley Resort, we got a ride to the Bear Creek Trailhead, which we planned to follow almost eight miles until it intersect with the John Muir Trail.  At first the trail passed across a dry, dusty portion of Bear Ridge, and it felt like a relief when we reached the dense growth and cooler air around Bear Creek.  The trail followed the creek upstream, passing beneath aspen trees, ponderosa pines and willows.  Paintbrush and other wildflowers scattered the ground, and we found pockets of wild strawberries and gooseberries.  The stream gamboled beside us, forming countless pools that beckoned to us in the growing heat.

Finally we stopped for lunch beside a wide waterfall and swimming hole.  I swam while Noah and Kai caught frogs and Pam lay in the sun.  It was a peaceful spot, and we lounged on the flat, sandy stream bank longer than usual.

We hiked another three miles before evening set in and we made camp beside another perfect section of Bear Creek.  Here the river ran through big blocks of granite, forming short cliffs, cascades and a series of swimming holes shaped like jumbled railroad boxcars.  Noah hopped his way from rock to rock to reach a large boulder surrounded by rushing water, where he nestled into a cranny and read.  Kai sat on the stream bank with his journal and wrote a western story about a sheriff who realizes his brother is a murderer and feels conflicted about what action to take.

At dusk we ate dinner overlooking Bear Creek.  Bats emerged, darting through the sky above us, and we watched them until it was almost too dark to see.  We read The Hobbit then turned off our headlamps and fell asleep to the water’s lullaby.

Read the full series by clicking on the links below:
Day 1 – Day2 – Day 3 – Day 4 – Day 5 – Day 6 – Day 7 – Day 8 – Day 9 – Day 10 – Day 11 – Day 12 – Day 13 – Day 14 – Day 15 – Day 16 – Day 17 – Day 18 – Day 19 – Day 20 – Day 21 – Day 22 – Day 23 – Day 24 – Day 25 – Day 26 – Day 27 – Day 28 – Day 29 – Day 30 – Day 31 – Day 32 – Day 33 – Day 34

J.S. Kapchinske is the author of Coyote Summer.