Red’s Meadow to Iva Bell Hot Springs
It’s finally the day! We barely slept last night and are up and ready to go early. For those that know me well, it will be no surprise that it is an Imodium kind of morning. Ugh….love that my nerves go right to my stomach. We grab our packs that we meticulously packed last night (mine weighing 33 lbs/ Gannon 44 lbs) and walk up to the village to catch the bus to the main lodge. The bus leaves the village at 8:00 am and there are already several other groups of backpackers waiting to start their adventures.
We are the last stop on the bus to Red’s Meadow. We see a bear and some deer on our ride into the meadow. Rainbow Falls trailhead is our entry point for the Fish Creek Trail. It is starting to get warm already and it’s only 9:00 am. We top off our water, take our obligatory selfie and head on out.
Shortly after starting we meet a dad and daughter team. Rob and Maddy (13 yr old) are doing the whole JMT (John Muir Trail) and it’s day 4 for them. They are very nice and we leap frog with them for most of the day. Each time we meet up, we chat and find out about things we have in common. Growing up in Modesto is one of them. Such a small world.
We eat lunch by a small creek and soak our feet for a bit. We are loving the weather and enjoying the amazing scenery.
As we approach Island Crossing, Todd passes us. We later learn that Todd works for Red’s Meadow resort and is out for an overnighter. At Island Crossing, Rob and Maddy inform us that Iva Bell Hot Springs is only 3 easy miles away. We have just done 9 miles and told ourselves earlier that we were going to take it easy on the first day. But, it is still early enough and if the miles are easy, it will be well worth the effort. Iva Bell hot springs are natural hot springs that are approx. 12 miles out in the forest. It is a popular spot for hikers to soak their tired bodies after a long day on the trail.
The 3 easy miles, are NOT easy and for the last mile, Gannon lets me hang on to the back of his pack each time we have a hill to climb. I am out of gas and soo thirsty! Gannon keeps saying how abundant the water was and all I keep thinking is, “Then why am I soo thirsty?”. We filter water, but I can not get my thirst quenched. Obviously, I’m getting dehydrated. I continue to drink and finally get back to normal again.
We eventually drag ourselves into Iva Bell, Gannon finds us a good campsite and we make camp. We learn from Rob that there are naked PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) thru hikers in the upper hot springs. We are planning on keeping this adventure PG, so we make our dinner and get settled. After dinner, we make our way through a marshy meadow and meet Rob, Maddy, & Todd at the PG lower hot spring. We hang our feet in and chat with them for a while.
It’s now around 8:30 pm, we retire to our tent for the night. Light rain drops bounce off our tent and lull us to sleep…..or maybe it’s the Benadryl?