JMT Day 8: A Monotonous Day?

Along the trail
Along the trail

My trail guidebook promises that now follows what most JMT hikers consider the most monotonous part of the entire trail. Unfortunately it does not go into details about the reasons.

After crossing Deer Creek the trail continues to ascend slowly until it reaches the 10000 ft mark and then stays at about this elevation for a while. The area is forested, hence the views are rare.

On the trail
On the trail

I can indeed see why this part might feel monotonous, but after switching my feet and mind to auto-pilot mode I am able to enjoy the nice and easy hiking. The sky is cloudy again, so there are no great views to be missed anyway.

Sometimes the forest opens up and offers a nice view
Sometimes the forest opens up and offers a nice view

After two hours we reach the crossing of the outlet of Duck Lake, time for a break – someone left a camping chair there. During the following short ascent we hear some strange distant sounds. We don’t really have an idea but our best guess is that it might be a coyote howling.

On the trail
On the trail
Bridge over Duck Lake outlet
Bridge over Duck Lake outlet

The next section of the trail until Purple Lake is quite similar. Easy miles at high elevation.

Purple Lake
Purple Lake
The trail passing a major rock fall area
The trail passing a major rock fall area

At Lake Virginia the monotony suddenly ends, it is one of the many positive surprises of the trail!

It’s a perfect spot and the clouds clear up for a while, so we stay there and sleep in the grass for about an hour. Afterwards I have a hard time getting into hiking mood again. The remainder of the afternoon is the only section where Kevin hikes faster than I do. I just want to go back to the lake and sleep in the sun for the rest of the day… 😉

Lake Virginia
Lake Virginia
View at Tully Hole
View at Tully Hole
Decent at Tully Hole
Decent at Tully Hole

After a long descend at Tully Hole we follow Fish Creek downstream for a while. After crossing the bridge and the junction to Silver Pass we start looking for a campsite.

Bridge crossing Fish Creek
Bridge crossing Fish Creek
Let's camp here!
Let’s camp here!

We finally camp near a stream passing through a meadow, even though it looks like a paradise for bears. But we are already quite tired and don’t want to go over Silver Pass today.

Again a short rain shower hits us in the evening, and just after dusk sets in it finally happens! We gaze in awe as we see our first real…

Again, it gets a little bit wet in the evening
Again, it gets a little bit wet in the evening

…PCT thru-hiker! 😉

He belongs to a rare species, but we can tell already from his weathered and bearded looks and a short chat confirms it:

– Hiking in the dark?
– Got to make my miles!
– Where are you going?
(quite proudly) CANADA!

He seems to be quite late, to reach the Canadian border before winter he should have passed through here in June. It’s a pity we will never find out whether he makes it. With about 1800 miles (2900 km) to go he definitely looks determined. We wish him all the best and say goodbye.

And of course no bear shows up at night, do they exist at all?

Distance hiked on JMT: 12.4 mi / 20.0 km
Distance hiked off JMT:
Elevation gained: 3000 feet / 900 meters
Time spent hiking (including breaks): 8:30 h

Maps of Day 8:

Deer Creek – Purple Lake – Tully Hole – Fish Creek – below Squaw Lake (part 1)
Deer Creek – Purple Lake – Tully Hole – Fish Creek – below Squaw Lake (part 2)
<<< Day 7: In and out of Red’s Meadow <<< Day 8 >>> Day 9: Timeout at VVR >>>


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2 thoughts on “JMT Day 8: A Monotonous Day?

  1. Hallo Gert,
    ich verfolge täglich Deinen Trail-Report. Super!!! Ich habe auch den JMT letzten Montag (09.09.13) nach 16 Tagen „gefinished“. Grandios! Die Wiederholungsgefahr ist riesengroß.

    Viele Grüße aus Sachsen-Anhalt!

    Nick

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