Jackrabbit Hikes: PCT Day 59-62
Day 59 – Tentsite (mi 846.0) -> Marie Lake (mi 866.2)
I didn’t write anything during the day for today. I camped at Marie Lake though so I must have gotten over Selden Pass. Woohoo. 20 Sierra miles. Woohoo.
Day 60 – Marie Lake (mi 866.2) to Vermilion Valley Resort (mi 878.7)
I knew going to sleep with wet shoes and socks was going to catch up with me. This morning my shoes were rock hard and my socks were frisbee’s. They weren’t regulation 175g but damn they had a good flight to them. My shoes looked like realistic shoes sculpted out of rock with how the laces were frozen extended out.
So after I beat my shoes on the rocks for 20 minutes I was able to squeeze my feet in. They slowly melted and froze my feet as the water seeped into my dry pair of socks. My feet have been soaking wet or freezing or both for at least 50% of this section. I also ate shit on a frozen rock into a stream this morning. Love being soaking wet in freezing weather. I stood up with my feet still in the water and looked up. “It could always be worse” I reminded myself. I ate the last of my rock-hard Sour Patch Kids and started walking again.
After regathering myself, I continued my descent off the frozen Selden Pass. Being deep in the mountain valleys makes for late sunrises and sunsets so I stayed cold for the first few hours of the day.
So far, the last 50 miles of JMT/PCT has practically always followed a large water source. You have either been climbing a mountain chasing a waterfall (TLC says don’t do that, by the way) or you’re flowing down the mountain adjacent to a stream of snow melt. It’s been indescribably beautiful.
After a relatively short day and a long 7mi side trail, me Graham and Chef made it to VVR aka Vermilion Valley Resort. When people think resort they think big money and fancy log cabins with scenic views. Not this one.
VVR is located right in the heart of nowhere with the mostly dry Lake Thomas A. Edison taking up most of the adjacent space. It’s a tiny log wood structure with their primary export being good vibes. We got a ride from a tiny old lady in a giant lifted truck and rode a dirt road around the lake to paradise. Hell yeah California!
When I first arrived, I didn’t think I was going enjoy my brief stay here. But what have I said about judging an old man on their oddly tan genitals! I spent the afternoon doing dishes to earn my dinner. I hung out with the kitchen crew and the lead man, Jake. We listened to 90’s hip hop and I mostly just eavesdropped their hilarious conversations as I scrubbed cook pans.
As I scrubbed, hikers and campers gathered in the dining hall for dinner. The staff rang the dinner bell outside and any remaining stragglers quickly scurried to the main building. There was an electricity in the tiny wood building. Hikers laughing as they waited eagerly in line, the staff scrambling to set tables and make the final preparations.
I was surrounded by strangers once again doing something unexpected. I dapped up Jake and finished my pit of dishes before joining everyone else for my free dinner. Staff portions baby!
Fantastic food. Fantastic people. Fantastic vibes. VVR provides.
Day 61: VVR (mi 878.7) -> Tentsite (mi 888.6)
There are good mornings and then there are great mornings. Today I returned to my throne in the VVR dishpit. I was out of my tent writing these blogs around 5:30 AM and got recruited into the kitchen immediately.
The generator turned on at 7:00 AM, so we worked in the early hours under headlamp. We sat in the cold dark with huge smiles on our faces as we prepared breakfast for the site. The water heater needed electricity as well so my hands froze as I handscrubbed the baking sheets and pots. We vibed out to some acoustic music as the sun slowly crept into the property.
After my giant “staff” breakfast serving, I packed my things and headed out to trail. A 6.5mi side trail back to the PCT around Lake Thomas A. Edison, not too bad.
The rest of the day was easy. I caught up to Chef and we ran into our first JMT hikers shortly after. As we hiked up Silver Pass I thought about the passes we had done already. What a ride the Sierra’s has been.
We summited late in the afternoon on the frozen, rocky mountain pass. Since it was late, we had a few pros and cons going for us. The major con was the climb up was a major slog, but that part is over. The major pro was that we were in perfect glissade conditions and man did Silver Pass provide some giant snowy hills. We glissaded 4-5 giant stretches that covered over 2 PCT miles. It was a blast.
Another amazing day.
Day 62 – Tentsite (mi 888.6) -> Mammoth Pass (mi 903.3)
18.3 miles done by 12:30 pm! My fastest pace in a few weeks. I guess you could say I was ready for a little town life. A shower and a burger were calling my name.
Mammoth was probably geographically the coolest town I’ve been to. At 7900ft it wasn’t necessarily “out” of the mountains. More like it’s nestled into a nice basin, where lakes and fields of green grass sprawl out past the end of town.
I got my burger I was daydreaming about at Mammoth Brewing Co. and ventured out into town with a nice full belly. As always, the California sun shined as we walked some sweet, sweet bonus-miles. Sometimes it’s nice being another tourist in some of these more touristy stops – no one notices you.
Me, Uncle Bob, Dusty (formerly Fair Share) and Starboy checked into our Airbnb and got cleaned up. I met Chef at the coffee shop there and they could not have been nicer. They offered us probably $60 in free baked goods. In California, that’s almost two whole donut-holes!!!
Sike. It was a ton of fresh scones and donuts. It was the best and first trail magic I’ve gotten in the Sierra’s. We love off-trail trail magic.
I spent the rest of the night playing Othello against Uncle Bob. She was her elementary school junior strategist; I met my match.
The 80mi have not been easy to I’m looking forward to kicking my feet up for the next 24 hours. Plus, Mammoth Lakes. This place is luxurious location-wise… And it costs like it too!
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