John Muir Trail: Donahue Pass

Thousand Island Lake
On the morning of my fourth day, I climbed up Donahue Pass (11,073 feet) and into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. I wondered if my headache was due to altitude, and then stopped to pop a few pills and have a seat on the ground.

At the top, I could see miles of what looked like a shadeless rocky desert mixed with golden grasses, and no sign of civilization. The only sound, other than a breeze brushing passed my ears, came from grasshoppers leaping into the air around me, buzzing like spinner fireworks. They drop to the ground hard as if they spent all their fuel on each short three second flight. The view provoked a feeling of absolute contentment and I wondered if I could ever give up this lifestyle. Few things, including salaries and 401ks, are as rewarding after a morning of hard work.

Once getting deep into the valley, it merged into a pine tree shaded oasis with trickling streams and birdsongs. After stopping here for lunch, I hiked over the 10,221 foot Island Pass toward Thousand Island Lake, an alpine lake speckled by dozens of small islands, to setup my camp for the night.

At the shore of the lake, the John Muir Trail intersects the Pacific Crest Trail, marked by a wooden sign. On the ground in front of the signpost, small rocks had been arranged to spell a word.

It spelled "Ryan."

As I get so few chances on my blog to leave cliffhangers, I'll leave that for the next post.

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A Backpacker's Life List by Ryan Grayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.