On our way home.

Day 18 of JMT Revisited (July 10, 2004)

Sleeping under the stars was fun – slightly colder than in the tent. Also, I woke up slightly late – 6:10 am. But we got everything packed in a hurry – and everybody let me start early (before everybody else was ready) because I am slow. I guess I left 15 minutes before the group, and with that handicap – I beat them to the last lake before Forrester Pass. Forrester was difficult, but not the hardest pass. For the most part the trail was good, but snow covered 8 to 10 switchbacks – so we had to climb over rocks. We all made the top within 10 minutes of each other. We rested for half an hour, then started down. I was “on fire” going up, but starting down, I felt sick. I was sick for most of the day – on and off.

We hiked all the way to Guitar Lake, about 18 miles from where we sleep the night before. At some points, I really didn’t think I could make it, but on the last 2.7 mile, 900’ climb, I was on fire again.

At Guitar Lake, lots of other people are camping. One of the guys recognized me because I told him our bear story in Yosemite. He was camping near Sunrise the day of our bear attack, and we ran into him on the trail on Day 3. He went home, and now, two weeks later he is again camping with his family. He was so excited to see me again he took my picture.

Most of us are sleeping user the stars again. Dinner was great – some sort of “Thai” food. Now Ken and Curtis are up lake making chicken noodle soup. We can cook everything tonight – but everybody went to bed because it is so cold.

No clouds in the sky – another great night for stars.

Everybody is so excited about going home. Wes has all sorts of plans for the last day. Tim wants to buy shotguns and go skeet shooting – and he wants to buy a motorbike. I can’t wait to see (and be alone with) my wife.

It has been a hard day, but I am so glad we made our goal, and we are at Guitar Lake, poised to finish. I pray God will keep us safe on the mountain.