PCT 2020 Day 12: Mile 909-922.9

Beginning Elevation = 7,700

Ending Elevation = 9,850

Elevation Range = ~7,700 – 10,000

Johnny Muir and All the Lakes

As I said in my previous post, the PCT and JMT split for about 14-15 miles, and our camp the night before was right at this junction. Last year, I’d chosen to take the JMT route and loved it due to the many many lakes. I did warn my fellow hikers that I remembered lots of elevation change, but even so, Cheer and Calzone decided to go for it. There was lots of forest-covered uphill in the morning before we got to any of the lakes.

After our second breakfast stop, we’d all sort of distanced ourselves from one another with Cheer in the lead. Just before 11:00am, we made it to the first gorgeous lake… Rosalie Lake.

I remember coming up to Cheer at the lake’s shore and seeing a huge grin on her face. She had just seen an eagle glide down and grab a fish from the lake! I saw it flying away towards the other side of the lake, but missed all the action. Thus, we attempted to be stealthy making our way around the lake in hopes of seeing the giant fowl once again. I believe we did end up spotting it once again, but only off in the distance perched on a branch.

After Rosalie, we had some seriously steep switchbacks down to Shadow Lake. And then it was up again, following west along Shadow Creek before turning north again…

We went up above 10,000 feet before going back down to the shores of Garnet Lakes. This is one of my all time fav. lakes of the trail and I remember last year finding a perfect cliff jumping spot, but chickening out from the cold air and water temps. I’d made it a goal of mine to re-find this spot and take the leap, but dark clouds were moving in. It didn’t appear much like a lightning threat to me, so I convinced myself to go for it! Cheer and Calzone weren’t as excited about swimming now that the sun had been blocked out…

Wordpess seems to struggle with the slow-motion format that the video was in, so… here’s a play-by-play in screenshot format:

I came, I conquerred, and it was wonderful. After a bit of a break to dry off and get my hiking attire back on, we continued on our path northbound. Next up was Ruby Lake…

And then Emerald Lake…

Our goal for the day was to make our way back to the PCT and to Thousand Island Lake, another one that I’d been raving about to my hiker comrades. This one is just top notch folks. First, we had to cross over the lake outlet…

And then, we were welcomed back to the PCT by these wonderful views of the Thousand Island Lake and Banner Peak!

We figured this looked like a lovely place to try and find camp, so took the side trail that goes around the north side of the lake in search of sites. Problem was… we weren’t the only folks thinking this was a great spot to camp. So many people! I think we ended up going about 3/4 mile until we found some spots. It was quite a magical spot and we had another great night out on the trail.

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