Meet Virginia and Sneaky Silver
Beginning Elevation = 7,850
Ending Elevation = 10,000
Elevation Range = 7,850 – 10,950
Weather: Sunny, hot, quite nice.
We didn’t rush getting going in the morning. Instead, we gathered to boil water for coffee and oatmeal wanting to make sure we were all feeling OK and up for hiking again. Thankfully, Calzone’s symptoms seemed to have lessened and she was feeling strong enough to keep plugging away at the miles. Sumi was offering his encouragement over breakfast…
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear it, but we had a tough climb ahead of us. Over 3,000 feet of elevation gain kind of climb. I’m personally not very good at looking at the elevation profile ahead of time and so really just saw that the high point of Silver Pass was just below 11,000 feet. Not bad I figured, but I didn’t consider that we were starting at a relatively low point. So it sort of snuck up on me when we seemingly just continued to go up the whole morning.
Lots of breaks were had along the way. I think we had a longer sit down/breakfast-type break around this mini waterfall. It’s always nice to have a meal next to a water source, especially such a pretty one as this that also provides a nice little shoot to fill bottles from…
Here’s some more photos of our hike up from Mono Creek to Silver Pass…
Here’s nearing the pass looking back. Things opened up with less trees as we approached the high point.
If you’re wondering what that little white spot is in the otherwise clear blue sky, Gimli the dwarf, member of the Fellowship of the Ring, would tell you, “Nothing, it’s just a whiff of cloud.” I doubt this was the exact whiff of cloud, but at one point when hiking Calzone quoted this line to Cheer and I chuckling a bit and neither of us knew what she was talking about. I’ve since watched the Lord of the Rings movies twice again and now I think of it every time I see a little lone cloud haha.
Here’s looking ahead, now getting quite close we hoped.
I honestly don’t remember what our victory pose inspiration was here atop Silver Pass. My guess is that it had something to do with all of us sporting the new hiker look of the bandana below the hat flapping in the wind?
It was now Cheer’s turn to get some altitude sickness feelings. Ugh, the trail was wearing us down. Deciding it would be nice to push on a little further before lunch, after a nice long break resting up, we set off to trying to make it to Chief Lake. Here’s a photo looking down on it before continuing on our hike.
The sun seemed to be draining us today and we were all pretty whipped. I remember taking our lunch break underneath a small clump of trees/shrubs, hiding in the tiny bits of shade they offered. In the picture above, the dark green spot that’s sort of on a peninsula towards the top-right of the photo is our lunch spot. I did go swimming again, which was quite chilly and refreshing.
For the remainder of our hike this day, I think we each did quite a bit of solo hiking. Trudge onward sort of thing. That sounds bad, but really that’s just what it is some times. Doesn’t mean the views weren’t spectacular still though. After the pass was about three miles of downhill, but following was a brutal late-day climb before the short decent to the amazing Lake Virginia.
Here’s at the bottom before going up again.
And now up high looking down at the green valley!
Lake Virginia is one of my favorites. I was lucky enough to camp nearby in 2019, but this time we hoped to get a bit further for the day, and so enjoyed its majesty while hiking around it’s shore.
After another up and down rollercoaster, we finally made it to Purple Lake. Unfortunately, we weren’t finding any flat and level spots near the lake to camp at. The comments in our map app mentioned the possibility of spots down a side trail, so I set off ahead to scout it out. It was a bit farther off the PCT than we’d hoped, but we needed to stop. Cheer was feeling a bit dizzy from the altitude and we were just spent. I think my area was covered in some dry old horse shit, but apart from that, we’d found a flat spot upon which to pitch our tents. After a short dinner, we crashed.