Marie Lake to Muir Trail Ranch and Colby Meadow – John Muir Trail, Day 8

  • Day8/13
  • Distance (miles)20.8
  • Pass 5 of 10Seldon Pass
  • Pass Elevation (ft.)10,870

Few things in life can compare to waking up next to a pristine, reflective lake in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on a crisp, cool morning. Marie Lake is astoundingly beautiful this morning. The pure, untouched beauty of nature is a humbling experience and one that never fails to remind me of the majesty and grandeur of our planet.

I’m looking forward to our hike today because we’re headed to Muir Trail Ranch for a resupply. Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll get to swap out some food.

Seldon Pass to Muir Trail Ranch for a Resupply

After spending the night by the lake, Don and I set out on a short hike up and over Seldon Pass. The scenery is breathtaking – small, crystal-clear lakes and trickling streams abound, and the air is crisp and invigorating.

Don hiking the JMT below Seldon Pass.
One of many streams we passed on the way down from Seldon Pass

Our next stop is Muir Trail Ranch, where we pick up our final resupply. The ranch is a haven for weary hikers, offering a range of amenities including a small store, hot springs, and even laundry facilities. I take the opportunity to swap out a few dinners for more palatable options and lighten my pack by leaving behind any unwanted or unneeded items. I also discard some extra batteries and a few Snickers bars, which are promptly devoured by fellow hikers.

Hiker buckets at Muir Trail Ranch allow backpackers to unload and resupply for free.
The hiker buckets at Muir Trail Ranch have everything you need

Before leaving Muir Trail Ranch, we take a refreshing dip in the pond next to the hot springs. The pond is a quick hike from the ranch on the other side of Bear Creek. While it’s too hot to indulge in the hot spring, the pond is a welcome reprieve for my tired muscles. I also take the time to fill my air mattress and submerge it in the pond, hoping to find the slow leak that has been making my nights so uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I had no luck and resigned myself to dealing with the issue for the remainder of the trip.

Don carefully crossing Bear Creek.
Crossing Bear Creek after leaving the pond at Muir Trail Ranch

Muir Trail Ranch to Colby Meadow

Back on the John Muir Trail, we encounter other adventurers on the trail, including Kate Marie (@katemarieadventures), who has been hiking solo off-trail in the High Sierras for the past six weeks. Her tales of adventure are inspiring and humbling, and I am reminded once again of the incredible connection that exists among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Don hiking the JMT along the creek after leaving Muir Trail Ranch.
Back on the trail after leaving the ranch

Further down the trail, we meet Gene, a cowboy who is packing supplies for another group of hikers. He offers us a cold beer, which we eagerly accept. After some friendly conversation and a bit of rest, we continued on our way, finally arriving at Colby Meadow right around sunset. We share a campsite with another thru-hiker, and I enjoy a delicious black bean chili dinner – courtesy of Muir Trail Ranch. All in all, it’s been an incredible day of hiking the JMT.

Tomorrow, we’ll cross Muir Pass and make a stop at the historic Muir Hut before reaching camp in Grouse Meadow.

Colby Meadow at sunset.
Colby Meadow just after sunset when we arrived in camp

My Backpacking Meal Plan

I had Black bean chili for dinner tonight. Amazing! I can’t express how great it is to have some variety in my backpacking food. Now I understand why people leave so many tasty meals at Muir Trail Ranch. Tasty only lasts for a couple of days. After that, you need to change it up. Thank you, Muir Trail Ranch!!!

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