Destination: Gladys Lake
Miles: 15.5 (plus 6 alternate trail miles)
Cumulative Miles: 2483.5
Rising a little later than usual, we began our 13.5 mile trek toward Red's Meadow, where we hoped to grab a few supplies, lunch, and a shower. We noticed that as we work our way further north in the Sierras, the rock formations are starting to include some volcanic rock. The trail wound its way through the trees, passing lava rock, red and pockmarked with gas bubbles.
Our morning hike seemed very slow and difficult. We had eaten such a large breakfast at VVR that we took a late lunch yesterday. By dinner time we were not hungry, so we just snacked. This had the adverse effect of not giving us the necessary energy to hike this morning. Slowly and with frequent breaks we trudged toward Red's Meadow.
We arrived at Red's Meadow around 1pm and immediately hit the cafe for a filling lunch, and some coffee. Afterwards we bought a few supplies to get us the rest of the way to Tuolumne Meadows. Then we went to the campground to grab some showers.
When we arrived at the hot spring showers, there was a high school class there on a field trip of some kind. All shower stalls had lengthy waiting lines. Disappointed that we didn't have time to wait for the lines to exhaust themselves, we walked down to the creek and took a quick splash bath before continuing down the trail.
Our first mile after Red's Meadow took us past Devil's Postpile National Monument, an impressive display of columnar basalt, which had been glacially polished at the top. Along the base of the towering basalt columns, large hexagonal basalt lay piled in mounds which have grown over time. The area was designated a national monument in 1911, and is considered part of Yosemite Park.
We continued on, taking a suggested alternate to the PCT, which is part of the official JMT. The alternate is slightly shorter, but has more climbing and takes us past a few more lakes. We arrived at Gladys Lake just after 6:30pm, and set up camp for the night.
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