Iva Bell Hot Springs, a PCT/JMT Alternate Route

From Reds Meadow, where we devoured eggs and purchased more round pills, we veered off from the PCT/JMT towards the Fish Creek trail to head down and then up to Iva Bell hot springs, some 12 miles away.  After a burned section we passed through this amazing granite canyon.

Taun Taun writes, "Bright and early, I made my way slowly to the Red's Meadow Cafe, hoping eggs and pancakes would be medicine to my tendons. Where the cooked food seemed only to serve my hunger, the round pills helped push me forward. I leapt ahead of the group feeling invincible under the spell of modern medicine. I took in the awe, traversing across vast stretches of granite overlooking endless canyons."

And then, after descending to Fish creek, we ascended the valley among the biggest old growth trees that I saw along the John Muir Trail or Southern California...giant cedars and giant jefferson pines.

El Brujo among the big trees

"Eventually the awe and the drugs wore off as I slugged my way into Fish Creek Valley. Only 3 miles to Iva Bell Hot Springs. Somehow those three seemed like ten meandering through the giant incense cedars. J Bear, was on the same train with me, his feet riddled with blisters. His soft, deep Texas voice, carried me along as we wound up 14 miles for the day, camped out at the base of the Springs. Dan and Jamie had arrived earlier in the day. Phil with his quick feet and Rich with his magic Chopats, a couple hours before us. We joined the party with beers, and soaked our troubles away, at least for the moment.  With Brian's ankles, my tendons, and J Bears blisters we called a moratorium for day 4. Sought magic in the combination of cold streams and hot pools that dotted up the hillside. Happened upon Bruce, the Iva Bell host, who showed us all the right spots. Bruce was a middle-aged drunk from Anchorage, rumored to have been hanging around the Springs for weeks living off of the extra booze and freeze dried dinners left by visitors. Was feeling a bit better by day's end, giving myself a 50/50 shot of calling quits at Muir Trail Ranch down the trail." 
- Taun Taun

At the Springs...where we rested for two nights and nursed our sore feet and legs and El Brujo and Taun Taun rested their more severe injuries, employing some hydrotherapy to speed the recovery process while the rest of us hoped they would be able to continue the hike with us.

There were a couple springs way above the others with a spectacular view.

"At dusk, Dan and Jamie made their way back to Red's, sadly parting ways, wishing me strength and wisdom.  Possible the wishes meant something, as I zoomed up and over the ridge the next morning into Cascade Valley on the way back to the JMT. Feeling amped enough to slide ass-first down a cascade during our daily dip." 
- Taun Taun

To return to the PCT/JMT, we went up Cascade Valley with many waterfalls and swim holes along the way.  Here, Taun Taun prepares to go down the water slide.

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