An Opportunity Missed…
Our first point of interest on the trail today was Marie Lake. If you’ve been reading our diary updates, you’ll know that we’ve seen a fair few lakes on the JMT already, but none so spectacular as Marie Lake.
Without a doubt, this lake has to be my favourite spot on the trail so far. It’s such a shame that we didn’t make it there last night, as it would have been an awesome camping spot!
Mesmerised by Marie Lake – How totally stunning is this place!
Day 14 – Rosemarie Meadow to Sallie Keyes Lakes (4.3 miles) – Thursday 11th September 2014 – ‘Big, Bad, Bug Fest’
Today was a short hike, primarily to get over Selden Pass – but not before enjoying an hour beside the beautiful Marie Lake situated at the top of the valley just before the pass itself.
Having breakfast before breaking camp near to Rosemarie Meadow.
Passing Rosemarie Meadow near to the Lou Beverly Trail Junction.
Heading for Selden Pass.
Reaching Marie Lake before Selden Pass. One of my favourite spots on the entire JMT!
As I’ve already said, it is the most stunning lake we have seen on the JMT so far. As we came upon it, we were wowed by beautiful reflections of the surrounding mountains, on water that looked as smooth as glass. It was a really still, calm and peaceful place and what made it even more special was that we had it all to ourselves to enjoy. (Well apart from a few ‘trail bandits’ scampering about).
Marie Lake was looking positively polished!
There’s no place we’d rather be!
Cool, icy blue awesomeness!
We couldn’t believe we were the only thru-hikers at the lake!
Gentle ripples blur the pristine reflections.
We thought that it must look even more spectacular at both sunrise and sunset and wished that we’d have camped here the night before. There are lots of pre-used camp spots in amongst the rocky outcrops – so take note any prospective JMTers – Marie Lake is definitely a place to have on your itinerary!
We think this would have made a spectacular spot for sunset and the perfect place to camp!
Click on this panorama to see it in larger format to appreciate the real beauty of this place.
It was not the only lake we saw today however. After dragging ourselves away from the peace and solitude, it was a relatively easy hike up and over Selden Pass straight down to Heart Lake on the other side. It’s clear to see how the lake got it’s name as it is actually shaped like a love heart. We stopped by Heart Lake for lunch, but in our opinion it’s nowhere near in the same league as Marie Lake.
Leaving Marie Lake and starting up Selden Pass.
Looking down from the top of Selden Pass at Heart Lake on the other side.
Not forgetting to take note of the fragile flora that survive here.
Successfully down Selden Pass, we sit at Heart Lake to enjoy a spot of lunch.
We then continued on another mile or so to Sallie Keyes Lakes. Again the lakes looked nice, but not as spectacular as Marie Lake. (We even considered hiking back up to Marie, that’s how much we loved it!) But as we’d already got there and the sun was shining, we decided to get the tent pitched and make the most of the afternoon.
Looking onto Sally Keyes Lakes. Little did we know what lurked there!
Sally Keyes Lakes – Another picturesque lake on the JMT if you can handle gnats.
We chose a camp spot between the two lakes in a sheltered area amongst some trees. Then we went down to the lakeside to rinse out some clothing – camp duties before sunbathing! It was also ‘hair washing day’!
Sat on a rock rinsing my undies in the lake. Hiking is not terribly glamorous but it beats being at work!
But what we hadn’t realised before pitching the tent was that the lake was swarming with tiny flies. They reminded us of the dreaded midges we had endured throughout the summer at home in England, when hiking the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast trails. Swarms of bugs do not make for a relaxing time sunbathing around a lake I can assure you! We were that fed up with them, that we even considered packing the tent up and moving a few more miles down the trail until we found an alternative camp spot. The saving grace was that they didn’t seem to be biting us, they were just annoying us by hovering around. So we hoped that they might be like the pesky sand flies we came across in New Zealand, which seem to just disappear when the sun goes down and it gets too cold. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. As soon as the sun set, the flies all made a bee-line for our tent and there was nothing we could do about it. Except barricade ourselves in for the night! By this time, there were a few other groups of hikers camped near to us who were doing exactly the same thing! Our top tip and lesson learnt: Avoid camping at Sally Keyes Lakes.
Hiding our irritation whilst confining ourselves to the tent to avoid our unwelcome guests!
As if the flies weren’t annoying enough, we were then also abruptly awoken twice during the night by howling coyote, which made for an unsettled sleep. The only good thing about camping at Sally Keyes Lakes was that it seemed a lot warmer than where we had camped the previous night, and the clothes we had washed were all dry by morning!
It was quite a feast tonight! Mashed potato smothered in chopped spam and a thick tomato sauce, complete with a side of stuffing mix.
Putting the ‘big, bad, bug, fest’ behind us, at least from Sally Keyes Lakes it is only a short 5 miles or so to Muir Trail Ranch where we collect our final food re-supply tomorrow. I wonder what delights the ‘hiker bins’ will have in store for us there? We’ll definitely be ‘swapping out’ our re-supply of trail mix once again!
Food, glorious food – will we be able to fit 10 days worth of food rations in our bear canisters? Fingers crossed…