Past Donahue Pass to Reds Meadow – John Muir Trail, Day 5

  • Day5/13
  • Distance (miles)19.5
  • Pass 3 of 10Island Pass
  • Pass Elevation (ft.)10,221

As sunlight broke on my tent, I was surprised to find that my air mattress had popped during the night. It was a frustrating way to start the day, but I quickly got over it when I saw the sunrise. Things like this are bound to happen on a backpacking trip. I just needed to focus on getting to Reds Meadow.

My lower back was still sore from yesterday’s hike over Donahue Pass, but thankfully, the nausea had passed, and I was feeling much better. I knew I needed to take it easy and be mindful of my body, so I took my time getting ready and made sure to drink lots of water and eat a good breakfast before setting out for the trail.

Don suggested making some adjustments to my backpack to make it ride closer to my body. This was my first time using this particular backpack, and I hadn’t had time to fine-tune its fit before starting the trip. I was grateful for Don’s suggestions, and I made the necessary adjustments. As a result, I never again experienced the excruciating pain that I had felt the day before.

Sunrise at camp southeast of Donahue Pass.
Sunrise at camp southeast of Donahue Pass

Island Pass and Thousand Island Lake

We followed the trail across Island Pass, which stands tall at 10,221 feet. Along the way, we took time to stop and visit with several other hikers at Thousand Island Lake. The scenery was breathtaking, and we couldn’t resist taking a few pictures to capture the moment. Along the way, we stopped to chat with several other hikers at the lake, which was a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded people.

View of Thousand Island Lake from the trail.
Thousand Island Lake

After Thousand Island Lake, we passed Garnet, Shadow, and Rosalie lakes before finally reaching Devil’s Postpile and Reds Meadow. The trail was challenging, but the sense of accomplishment we felt upon reaching our destination was worth it.

View up to Devil's Postpile frome the trail.
View up to Devil’s Postpile from the trail

The Reds Meadow Experience

At Reds Meadow, we met up with two hikers we had encountered on the trail. We sat down for dinner together and enjoyed some delicious patty melts and beers. The conversation was enjoyable, and we shared stories about our experiences on the trail. It was the perfect way to recharge after a long day of hiking.

After dinner, I headed over to the general store where I picked up a fresh apple and banana to have for breakfast the next day. It was important to stock up on fresh produce whenever possible, as it helped to keep us fueled and energized for the journey ahead.

Don hiking towards the backpacker’s camp at Reds Meadow.
Don hiking towards the backpacker’s camp at Reds Meadow

I also took the opportunity to wash off five days’ worth of dirt and grime in the showers, which cost $5.00. It was a small price to pay to be the freshest-smelling hiker on the trail. As I settled down for the night in the backpacker’s camp, I hoped that my air mattress would hold up for the night. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s hike to Virginia Lake and Squaw Lake.

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