Well we’ve already been on the trail a week. Although it really doesn’t feel that long. We haven’t yet glimpsed a bear, and I think if that’s still the case after 26 days, we’ll be quite disappointed.
Nevertheless, there’s an abundance of other wildlife here. We’ve seen numerous birds and lots of little critters such as squirrels, chipmunks and marmots (the elusive ‘Trail Bandits’!) Our deer tally has also reached 11, after we spotted a huge ‘buck’ with great antlers out in the woods yesterday. And just today, we saw a mother and fawn sprint past us on the trail after we startled them!
Beautiful reflections on Thousand Island Lake at sunrise.
Day 7 – Thousand Island Lake to Rosalie Lake (8.1 miles) – Thursday 4th September 2014 – ‘Loving The Lakes’
Along with our continual wildlife spotting, today’s hike took us past several more scenic lakes. As the Lake District in England is one of our favourite places, we felt right at home. Wayne, being Wayne, made the effort to get up for sunrise again – this time capturing the light moving across Banner Peak as the sun came up. He also got some beautiful shots of the mountain range reflected in the lake before I even opened my eyes and ventured out of the tent.
The Golden Hour’ – Banner Peak at dawn.
The sun rises over Thousand Island Lake.
Thousand Island Lake was such a scenic spot we really didn’t want to leave. But Wayne assured me there would be plenty more lakes to come on the JMT. Today alone we saw 5 different lakes during our 8 mile hike.
It was hard to leave this fantastic camp spot on the JMT!
The first part of the trail took us to Emerald Lake. Then we hiked on to Ruby Lake, closely followed by the beautiful Garnet Lake, that was still dominated by Banner Peak. (Whoever discovered and named the lakes during this part of the trail must have fallen in love with a bag of gems!)
Carefully crossing the creek. Good balancing skills are needed!
Heading to Emerald Lake.
A good, well trodden trail to follow.
Emerald Lake is just as stunning.
Stopping for a photo at Ruby Lake.
We stopped at Garnet Lake for a while to enjoy the views and grab a mid-morning snack. It was here that Wayne did his good deed for the day, coming to the rescue of my Lego-Mini-Hiker who’d taken a nose dive off a cliff whilst posing in front of the camera. Luckily, all parts were retrieved and she survived the fall!
A rest stop at Garnet Lake. Banner Peak still dominates the view.
Our Lego Mini-Hikers before the near fatal fall!
After all that excitement, we hiked on to the next lake on the trail, Shadow Lake. A much smaller lake compared to the others, Shadow Lake is right below the San Joaquin Mountain, which stood out among all other mountains as it looked striking against the alpine scenery because of its pink/orange colour.
Reflections on Shadow Lake.
Up to this point, today’s trail had mostly been a steady downhill hike. But from Shadow Lake onwards, we had to contend with a lot of uphill switchbacks to reach Rosalie Lake, our final destination for the day. The switchbacks were not too taxing however. We set a steady pace and they went up with a gradual incline as opposed to either a steep uphill or lots of steps (which we hate!) That’s one thing we can definitely say – Americans know how to build good switchbacks!
Continuing on the trail…
There are strict guidelines on where camp fires are allowed.
Great views all around.
We discovered a ‘Dragon Tree’!
Crystal clear waters flow through the alpine meadow.
A long exposure shot of the creek.
We arrived at Rosalie Lake by late afternoon, and after pitching the tent in another good spot, headed down to the water’s edge for a little ‘r and r’ and of course the obligatory washing of the feet. Wayne had a practise with his camera, getting to grips with the features on his new GH3 (he’s always tinkering with something new), whilst I got on with writing our daily diary. Having the solar charger with us (primarily to charge camera batteries) also means that I’m able to use my phone to type up daily blog posts, ready to upload when we complete the JMT and get back to civilisation. (Obviously you all want to know how we’re surviving in the wilderness and whether we’ve seen any bear action at all!)
A giant tree!
We reach Rosalie Lake, another beautiful camp spot.
Looking out across Rosalie Lake.
Enjoying the sunshine whilst typing our daily blog.
Whilst down by the lakeside we were slightly jealous when a guy who was fishing near us managed to catch 3 rainbow trout for his and his companion’s supper. Freshly caught rainbow trout cooked on the camp fire versus packet mashed potato – well no matter how good our hiker dinners are, it’s a no brainer, they just don’t compete. Maybe a fishing rod could be a good addition to our hiking kit next time!
Tonight’s hiker dinner.
Voila! Beef jerky with mashed potato, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
After catching the last few rays of sunshine, it was then a typical evening after a day’s hike – filter four litres of water, have a strip wash, change into sleep wear, cook dinner, discuss the next day’s plan, wash the pots, position the bear canisters with homemade alarm on top 50 feet from the tent, last toilet stop, check the bear canisters with the torch one more time, then we’re finally ready for bed! (Or rather, we get wrapped up in our sleeping bags and get a good night’s rest). No TV, no music, no internet, no distractions. And hopefully no bear intrusions!
Our camp spot at Rosalie Lake.
I wonder how many people today could survive 26 days without access to the internet? For some, I think this might be more difficult than going without a shower! One thing’s for sure, it hasn’t yet bothered us in the slightest. We might think differently in another week’s time – but right at this moment, we could quite easily get used to this life!