Day 4: A Peaceful Return

John Muir Trail campsite to Onion Valley Trailhead
(7.8 miles, +1,600/-2,600 feet).

We woke up early (as usual!) and hit the trail way before sunrise.  We did the short last bit of the Pacific Crest Trail before turning off towards Bullfrog Lake.

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Tarn near Bullfrog Lake

The alpenglow was just settling in as we arrived at Bullfrog Lake, lighting up East and West Vidette.

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The Videttes reflected in Bullfrog Lake

We got water and took our time wandering around the lake and soaking in the early morning gorgeousness.  Soon we were back on trail, where we found a boulder with character.

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Grumpy boulder

As we climbed up towards Kearsarge Pass, the Kearsarge Lakes came into view under the Kearsarge Pinnacles (who was this Kearsarge guy anyway?).

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Kearsarge Lakes

As we hiked to the east, the rising ridge of the pass raced the sun upward, making sunrise last for an hour.

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Half Cookie races the sun

With no time pressure, I stopped to take pictures of many flowers along the way.

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Wildflowers
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More wildflowers
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View from Kearsarge Pass
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Half Cookie eating her trademark half cookie

Finally, we made it back to the pass.  This time, we were the only ones there.  We rested and snacked and then started down towards Onion Valley.

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We’re back!

The walk down on the other side was pleasant and uneventful.  I continued taking pictures of plants and the beautiful views from the trail.

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Blooming evergreen
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Beautiful barren rock field
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Big Pothole Lake
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Gilbert Lake
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Half Cookie hikes towards University Peak

Soon we could see our car.  I always feel conflicted on the last day.  So glad to get back to civilization, but so sad to be leaving nature.

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Onion Valley parking lot below
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We made it!
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