Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

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Lumbergh21
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Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:58 pm

What can I say, I'm lazy. I'll just be posting my journal entries that I wrote each night while hiking with a few photos thrown in. I plan to put up 3 days at a time.
Day 1
Not the best of starts to my 2017 Sierra Hike. Schatt’s Bakery decided not to open this morning, but they did leave a nice note on the front door, “Closed, sorry for the convenience.” I don’t think they know what that word means. I took care of a few last minute tasks before taking the town trolley out to the Welcome Center/Ranger Station to pick-up my permit. That’s when I found out about a new rule that the Inyo Ranger had implemented that requires all backpackers to carry a trowel for digging cat holes. The ranger I got my permit from said that they had determined that people who don’t use trowels/shovels do not dig deep enough holes. I didn’t ask him how they determined this, but I bet they determined it through an extensive study conducted by the Inyo Ranger who uses a trowel for digging cat holes, which concluded that anyone not doing it that way must not be doing it correctly. My experience with digging cat holes seems to differ. I find using a sturdy tent stake works great at loosening up the rocky ground common in mountainous areas. I’ll put my stake and hand dug cat holes up against any dug with a pretty orange trowel. Just a word of advice, when picking up your permit, make sure you tell them you are using a trowel to dig your cat holes, otherwise they will make you buy a piece of garbage that will break if it gets near the ground. (Rant over)
I took the Lakes Basin trolley out to Horseshoe Lake, oriented myself, and got on the trail at 10:05, headed towards Reds Meadow and the Fish Creek Trail to Iva Belle Hot Springs, my goal for the day. After a very short climb I came to a sign that indicated the PCT was 5 miles away. This was my first indication that the miles I had estimated for today were way off. I decided to take the trail to the PCT anyway as it looked nicer on the map than my planned route and only a mile or two longer. I was falling behind as I finally arrived at the Fish Creek Trail near Rainbow Falls. I had seen the falls before during my 2015 JMT hike and had no problem bypassing them this time. I was behind schedule but made up that lost time by taking a 15 minute break at the Crater Creek Crossing instead of the 1 ½ hour break that I had planned originally. My feet were paying the price for the dusty trail. The fine dirt working its way through the breathable uppers on my Merrill Moab Ventilators and turning my socks into a fine grit sandpaper.
Near the top of the climb after the Crater Creek crossing, I saw or rather heard a rattlesnake in the brush and grass to the right of the trail. Right after, I passed a couple headed back out and let them know. The guy laughed it off, but I asked him to pass the info along to the two hikers behind me that I had just passed. Less than ¼ of a mile further along I heard and saw a large rattlesnake in the grass to my right. Fortunately, his business end was pointed away from the trail and moving further away with his tail just clearing the trail. I couldn't resist another break shortly after where I had wide open views of the canyon below me.
Lunch Break View.jpg
I finally made it to Island Crossing at 5:00, about 1 hour behind my planned schedule. Fortunately, when hiking schedules are pretty meaningless and I decided to stop and make camp at one of the established sites in the area. My feet appreciated the respite, and after pitching my tent, I headed down to Fish creek to filter some water, rinse the dirt from the clothes I had worn that day and rinse the dirt from myself in the creek. As I made my way back to camp, I spied a cinnamon brown bear checking out the same camp site that I had chosen. I don’t like sharing camp sites with others and I let the bear know this, shouting at him as I made my way towards my tent. He loped off a few strides and turned, then a few more as I continued walking towards him yelling. By the time I got back to my tent, the bear had moved to the perimeter of the camp site, but was still visible in the trees and brush. I did the fastest camp break down and packing job I have ever done and was back on the trail in 10 minutes. About five minutes down the trail, I saw a second bear on the creek side of the trail that took off crashing through the brush.
Here I am now, camped below Iva Belle Hot Springs. I got here after sunset and made camp in the last waning light of the day. Dinner was made after dark, and I am dirty once again as I write these lines by head lamp before going to sleep. Today I saw 1 deer, 2 rattlesnakes, and 2 bears. I could have done without the last two animals. I did finish off the day with a lemongrass, ginger Kombucha ale from Black Doubt Brewing in Mammoth. Very tasty and well worth the extra 2 lbs of weight for the 32 oz crowler can.

Day 2
Day 2 began with a late breakfast. Camp wasn’t packed until 9. Next up was Iva Belle Hot Springs. As I made my way around the black streaked, water stained granite above the trail I came upon my first surprise of Day 2. No, not another bear or snake. It was a bare naked man bent over doing something at the outlet from a pool. I made myself known, and he stood up wearing nothing more than what he had born with; yes, entirely shaved, entirely. I mumbled something about the springs, and he told me to just keep going up until I ran into an obvious trail. And, that’s what I did. It was a decent climb finishing in a steep pitch to the highest and hottest spring. I reached down and tested the waters with my hand, deciding that this pool would do nicely, hot but not too hot. I stripped down, looking forward to a nice hot soak with beautiful views of the canyon stretched out before me. I took two steps into the pool before quickly taking two right back out. It was HOT, too hot! I got my stuff together and carefully made my way down to a lower pool that I had passed at the bottom of the steep climb. This one was much better. Not quite hot enough, but nice with those same excellent views.
292.jpg
As I got dressed and left the hot spring, I felt clean and relaxed. I met shaved man again on my way back down to the trail. This time he was dressed and we had an actual conversation. He said that he had been coming to the hot springs for years and had decided to pay back by skimming the pools and doing what he could to keep them nice for others. By the time I made it back to the creek crossing to take the Sharktooth Creek Trail, it was 10:45. Now that’s a late start to the day.
Now I had a climb up along Sharktooth Creek from 7,120 feet to 9,080 feet. Around 7,700 feet I passed a gourgeous view of Sharktooth Creek streaming over gigantic boulders. After several short rest breaks including two to rinse the dirt off my feet and filter some water, I arrived at the Lost Keys Lakes Trail. I was already woefully behind my planned itinerary, so I figured why not add in a hike up to Lost Keys Lakes. On the way up, I went slightly off trail for some views back north where I saw a plume of smoke rising.
On the way to Lost Keyes Lakes (2).jpg
It looked like it was in the area west of Red’s Meadow, but I’m horrible at estimating distances. I just hoped it wasn’t going to turn into something big. I arrived at the middle lake and headed up to the left of the inlet stream to the upper lake. The lakes were your typical alpine beauties with fish cruising the shoreline. I headed back down off trail, arriving at the Lost Keys Lake trail just above the trail junction.
Given the time, I changed my planned camping site for the night from Graveyard Lakes Basin to Wilbur Mae Lake. While there had been no noticeable mossies on Day 1, I noticed a few when I stopped for water at the outlet stream from the lakes. Not a lot, but I did kill four while filtering water. Things got worse after Long Canyon Trail Jct. The mossies grew in number but were manageable so long as you kept moving. Then I stopped to chat with two other hikers headed in towards Iva Belle Hot Springs. It was 4 and they wanted to know how far to the hot springs; unfortunately, I had to tell them that it was too far to make it today (about 8 miles at that point, I think). While talking to them, I noticed the cloud of mossies surrounding both of them. I could only imagine, that I looked much the same. They let me know that the mossies only got worse in the direction they were coming from. We parted and continued on to our camp sites for the night. From Jackson Meadow to Wilbur Mae Lake, the mossies were a 4 on a 0 to 4 scale. I had washed my long pants the night before and was wearing shorts this day. Finally, I had to stop, drop my pack, and quickly apply copious amounts of Picaridin to my legs and hands. The head net went on over my hat, and I continued down the trail to the Wilbur Mae Lake Trail Jct. The meadows were verdant and the granite peaks rising around me impressive.
Jackson Meadow.jpg
I was struck by the fact that a quintessential shaped granite peak had no name.
Just a Nameless Mt.jpg
I guess that’s the way it is in the Sierra where an 11,000 foot peak is so common, no matter how striking it might appear. I hiked over to Wilbur May Lake and set up camp quickly to get inside my tent’s bug net and away from the mossies. The lake was beautiful, and I planned to do a little fishing the next morning before leaving.
Wilbur May Lake.jpg
Day 3
Day 3 was short but fun. After spending an hour fishing at Wilbur May Lake (half of it fixing my reel, which still doesn’t really work properly), I had breakfast and packed camp to Graveyard Lakes or possibly beyond.
Wilbur May in the Morning.jpg
The morning views at Wilbur May Lake were beautiful as was the view looking down on Lake of the Lone Indian an hour later. The mossies went from an early morning 3 (on a 0 to 4 scale) to a zero at Lake of the Lone Indian. There were some snow fields to cross, especially going up to Goodale Pass.
On the Way to Goodale.jpg
Cross-country scrambling over snow free rocks was my method of choice for tackling the snow fields without any traction devices for my boots.
View Below Goodale.jpg
I reached the pass at 12:30 and started the long descent to Upper Graveyard Meadows. Just before the Cold Creek Crossing, I stopped to answer Nature’s Call and discovered the mossies were back up to a 3 as they swarmed me. The head net went on, and I got moving as fast as possible.
I made the turn up to Graveyard Lakes and reached the lowest lake at 2:30 where I saw the first people of the day camped at a nice site just off the east side of the trail. I waved hi and took off the head net as the mossies had disappeared again. I saw where several people had camped in the past, but didn’t stop at any of them as they were either too close to the lake, not big enough to pitch my tarp, or some other problem. I continued off trail to the northwest on the left side of the outlet from the highest Graveyard Lake. After hiking around the lake a bit, I found a nice level, clear spot on the south side of a ridge above the lake. I had great views of the mountains to the west and the string of smaller Graveyard Lakes below. I saw no surface action or minnows in the upper Graveyard Lake, so I assume this huge, deep lake at 10,000+ feet elevation is fishless. Good night from 10,400 feet.
Graveyard Lakes From Camp.jpg
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Last edited by Lumbergh21 on Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.








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tlsharb
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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report

Post by tlsharb » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:59 pm

Maybe I missed it, but what were the dates of this trip?

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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:54 pm

tlsharb wrote:Maybe I missed it, but what were the dates of this trip?
Problem corrected

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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:26 pm

Day 4
I awoke at 5:30 to a starless sky. Uh-oh. But, as I packed camp and made breakfast, the sun started to rise and the clouds broke. I worked my way down to the three Graveyard Lakes below my camp site that I hadn’t visited yet. Wow cubed! The lakes were idyllic – well, except for maybe the huge talus field at the bottom of the 3rd lake. Did I have to climb through the talus field to get back to the trail? No, but that didn’t keep me from climbing through it to the end of the shelf, then back to the obvious use trail, which I took back to the lowest Graveyard Lake and around to the camp site that I had passed on my way in. They had a fire going despite the fire prohibition, because “they were camping and you make fires when you’re camping” I guess. Then I saw a 1 gallon ziplock bag floating in the lake near shore, so I found the longest downed tree limb that I could lift and used it to fish out the plastic bag. Once that was done, I returned to the trail to hike out, ignoring the a**holes camped there, rather than give in to my initial desire to ask them about their “need” for an illegal fire.
Morning View at Graveyard.jpg
Middle, Middle Graveyard Lake.jpg
Lowest Middle Graveyard Lake (2).jpg
My day took a turn for the better when I met a nice father out on a backpacking trip with his two sons at Upper Graveyard Meadow. We talked for a bit, fighting off the mossies (at least a 3 again), and I continued on to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR). As I got within a couple of miles of VVR I started to meet other hikers just heading out and continued to pick up more garbage as I went along.
I rolled into VVR at 11:40 and made a bee-line to the hiker buckets. There was a lot of interesting food that did not interest me except for some instant oatmeal and tea packets. Next I browsed the store and took care of my two biggest needs, chapstick and beer, before heading next door to the café for a good but not great cheeseburger with fries and a 2nd side of fries.
That done, I was stuffed as I headed back to the store to take care of my resupply before hitting the trail to Bear Ridge. Mono Hotsprings was off the table. A couple of people at VVR said that no one had made it to Mono Hotsprings by trail due to the creek crossing and the high flows out of Lake Edison. As I passed below the dam, I could see the water crashing down the creek below the dam. No way was that creek fordable. I decided to check my phone at the dam, and lo and behold, I had 3 bars of service. I texted with my wife, downloaded some podcasts, and checked the weather forecast. The day was about to get wet.
Edison Lake From the Dam.jpg
I texted my final byes to my wife and started climbing up along Bear Ridge at 3:30. Around 4:30, I started hearing thunder and began hoping for a water source and a place to camp. I came to a stream where I filtered water; washed my poor, sore feet; and changed socks. It started to spit rain shortly after, and the sun began playing hide and seek behind black billowing clouds. Then just as the thunder really started crashing down, I spied a camp site. As the rain started coming down, I put up my tent. I was so happy to have a tarp style tent where you the fly goes up with the netting under it in one move, versus a freestanding tent where you erect the inner tent and fill it with water during a down pour before putting the fly up. Two minutes later, the tent was up and I threw my bag inside, following quickly behind. With plenty of time to kill (it was only 5:45), I repacked my bear canister, looked at my maps, and wrote in my journal. All in all, not a bad day on trail.

Day 5

Day 5 was another short day – only 11 miles – though it didn’t feel like it. I must be getting old. I stopped and made camp at Lake Italy, but I get ahead of myself. I got up and had a vanilla protein shake latte (protein shake mixed with coffee) and hit the trail to the JMT at 7:30. I made good time at first and was even debating going over Italy Pass today. But, the blister on my right pinky toe was really acting up, and I stopped a couple of times to try to calm it down. Next, I stopped about a mile up the Lake Italy Trail and caught a couple of trout from the Hilgard Branch, which I released.
Hilgard Branch.jpg
The night before, I had evaluated the food that I bought at VVR and found a disturbing lack of calories, only 7,280, about enough for 3 days. I did have 800 calories available for breakfast and 1,200 calories in snacks left over from my initial food supply, but that still wouldn’t be enough. I started with 740 calories in snacks in my hip belt pouch and hoped that I wouldn’t eat it all before Lake Italy. I finished those snacks off and was bonking well before Lake Italy.
Getting back to the hike, I lost the trail several times on the way up, but I knew the general direction - follow the creek to its source - and kept picking it back up. Then the rain started about 15 minutes before I reached the creek crossing below the lake outlet. As I reached the lake outlet, I began looking for the camp sites with the stone walls that I had read about. There were none to be found. About a third of the way along the lake’s south shore, I thought I saw a protected site, but no such luck. What I did find was a flat spot with rocks scattered over it nearby, so I began clearing it and building my own wall. About 20 minutes later, I had a clear flat site and a knee high wall on the west edge of the pad providing some relief from the wind, at least enough to protect my stove. The limited soil wouldn’t hold stakes, so I used the wall to anchor the head of my tent and other rocks to anchor the bottom and sides of the tent. Just as I finished pitching my tent the rain stopped. It was only 4:15, but I was beat.
Onward to Italy.jpg
Looking North at Italy.jpg
I went down to the lake for water and to wash up. Thoughts of skinny dipping in Italy like I had in South America in 2016 disappeared while constructing my wall. It was just too cold, and I was running on fumes. I filled up my water bottles, returned to camp and made some hot mashed potatoes that I followed with two peanut butter burritos and washed it all down with a grape Zipp Fizz.
I feel better now as I lay in my tent snuggled under my down quilt, writing down the day’s events. At least my mind is clear. The sky, however, is still filled with dark clouds, the sun only occasionally peeking through. The wind is blowing, and I’m still hungry. Stupid bear canister! I really could use more food for this hike than that bear canister allows me. I also really wished that I had the energy to jump in Lake Italy and rinse off, as I haven’t bathed since Iva Belle Hotsprings two days ago, and the funk is real. I just don’t know if I could get warmed back up again. I guess Italy Pass will wait until tomorrow.

Day 6
Condamnsation.
Due to the small site, I wasn’t able to pitch my tent all that well, and I had major condensation this morning. Fortunately, I did protect the foot end of my quilt by tying my rain jacket around the foot box. I took a long time on breakfast, packing, and drying this morning. As a result, I didn’t start out until a little after 8:00. I soon discovered that I couldn’t get around the ice field to the east of camp. It reached from a cliffy area down to the lake with large blocks of ice preventing any chance of rock hopping around on the lake side. With no traction devices for my boots and no one else there to potentially save me if I did slip and slide into the lake, I decided to turn around and head back to the JMT. I guess Granite Park will have to wait for another year.
Italian Ice (2).jpg
On the way back, I noticed several campsites below the lake outlet. I also noticed a tent below where I had crossed the creek earlier and decided to go say hi. There were actually two tents and two teachers on vacation from China where they taught English. We talked for a bit. They had turned around at the same ice covered talus slope earlier the day before. They were also thinking about going down the south side of Hilgard Branch, rather than cross over and retrace their steps. I decided, what the heck, and headed off on the south side of the creek too. Mistake one of the day. There’s a reason the recommended route/trail is on the north side of the creek. In a word, willows. While I tried to keep the time I spent pushing through the willows to a minimum, they seemed unavoidable on the south side of the canyon. I eventually made it back to the established trail a couple of miles east of the JMT and picked up some speed. Just before the JMT, I met the father from Graveyard Meadows with his two sons. They were debating going over Italy Pass. I let them know about the ice field and showed them some pics I took, but I couldn’t tell them anything about the north side of the pass, as it was still blocked from view on the west side of the ice where I had stopped. They had microspikes, and only 3 days to get to their truck at the Pine Creek Trailhead. He asked his sons what they thought, and they both said, let’s go for it. They still hadn’t decided when I left them, but I think they went ahead and continued their adventure. Good for them!
Leaving Italy.jpg
Italian Meadow.jpg
After finally reaching the JMT around noon, I planned to take a break at the Hilgard Branch ford, but there were so, so many people that I just kept walking. I did stop for a 10 minute snack and water break as I hiked up towards the West Fork of Bear Creek. I arrived at Marie Lake at 2:30 after only 10 miles of hiking today. The thunder was booming; my legs were tired. So, I set up camp, rinsed some clothes, rinsed myself off, and relaxed. I’ll be heading into MTR tomorrow to resupply from the hiker buckets and to soak in Blayney Hotsprings.
Marie Lake.jpg
Tent With a View (Marie Lake).jpg
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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:14 am

Day 7
I got my mojo back beneath a beautiful night sky last night, complete with three shooting stars.
Day 7 started early, but per usual, I didn’t hit the trail until 7:30. Nevertheless, I was movin’ pretty good this morning, reaching Selden Pass in 20 minutes and the Senger Creek crossing at 9:15.
Marie Lake From Seldon.jpg
Heart Lake From Seldon.jpg
Heart Lake 2.jpg
Sallie Keyes Lakes.jpg
Then the big decent into MTR started, and I slowed down.
Headed Down to MTR.jpg
Two hours later, I finally reached MTR, food Nirvana. As I walked through the gate, someone offered me Jelly Bellies, which I gladly accepted and quickly scarfed down. The first big find was a 16 oz unopened jar of Nutella. However, I soon discarded that in favor of some peanut butter packets that I opened and scraped into my peanut butter jar until it was full again. There was rice, energy bars, pasta, soup, tea, tuna, and so much more. I even scored some instant pesto that I had with spaghettini for dinner tonight with cherry lime-aid and hot peppermint tea. Yummmy!
I met a nice family hiking the JMT (David, Tara, Solomon, and Solei), while putting together my resupply. I let them know about the hotspring across the river, and then headed there myself. It took me a while, but eventually I found it. As usual, after I found it I felt like a complete idiot that I didn’t find it sooner. After 40 minutes of soaking, I got out feeling clean and refreshed. I made my way back across the creek to my tent, which I had pitched before leaving for Blayney Hotsprings since it had been spitting rain.
At 2:00, I finally left, heading south towards the JMT. At the steel bridge over the San Joaquin, I caught up with the Family. We talked a bit more, and they convinced me that I should continue on at least as far as the Evolution Creek ford. I passed them just before the climb up to that night’s camp site at the Evolution Creek crossing. Upon arriving at the ford, I set up camp near the creek and went to get some water just upstream from the crossing. It was getting late, but the Family decided to continue across the creek.
Evolution Creek.jpg
Heading Up Along Evolution Creek.jpg
I was done for the day at 6:30 after hiking a very relaxed 12.3 miles. I finished dinner at 8:00, and now I lay here writing in my journal by head lamp. Whenever you read this and wherever you are, I hope you have a good night and a good morning. It’s truly about the smiles and not the miles one week into my trip.
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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by Lumbergh21 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:35 pm

Day 8

A mere 10.4 miles today, but I’m feeling them. A lack of food seems to be kicking my rear. I was reduced to a slow trudge uphill and barely cracked 2 mph on the flats. At the end of the day, it took me 1 hour and 40 minutes just to go the final 2.8 miles from Evolution Lake to Wanda Lake.
Last night, I discovered that I have a slow leak in my sleeping pad when I woke up sleeping on my hardly sufficient CCF pad and empty pack. When I was about half way around Evolution Lake I stopped for lunch, to clean up, and to see if I could find the leak in my pad. 30 minutes spent waist deep in Evolution Lake, submerging my pad in the icy cold waters did not reveal the location of the leak. I am now back to the bad old days of a torso length ccf pad under my upper body and my pack under my legs.
I’m camped on the uphill side of the trail along Wanda Lake. The Family just came by at 6:15, looking for a place to camp. They seem to be in great spirits, but none of them took a dip in Evolution Lake. :( I told them they shouldn’t miss a chance to swim in Lower Palisades Lake with the sandy beach near the outlet. I didn’t make it to Davis Pass today as planned, but I’ll get up early tomorrow and take a peek at Davis Lake before heading back down the trail to Darwin Bench and Darwin Lakes Basin. I’m also trying to eat more. I had two Peanut Butter burritos with a double peppermint tea and a grape Zipp Fizz for dinner. I’m aiming for some ginger chews and peanut butter straight from the jar before turning in. I’m trying to get at least 2,700 calories today to see if that helps me make some more miles and some more smiles tomorrow.
Mt Darwin and Mt Spencer.jpg
Mt Spencer.jpg
Mt. Mendel.jpg
Wanda Lake.jpg
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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by Lumbergh21 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:23 pm

Day 9 (9.5 miles)
It’s pouring rain and hail. I can see flashes of light through the walls of my tent followed by earth shattering thunder 3 to 4 seconds later. The light and sound show started at 4:00, and now it’s nearly 5:00. I hope it stops soon. I’ve been cold soaking my pasta for over an hour, and I’d really like to start cooking it soon before it’s ruined.
The day started for me at 5:45 AM when I acquiesced to the demands of my phone alarm and “got up.” I hadn’t slept well at all on my ccf pad, and the condensation that I had wiped off the underside of the tarp had reappeared later in the night as frost. The inside and outside of the tent was coated in frost, and my bear canister was a bear to open in no small part due to the ice coating it.
I had breakfast, packed camp, and set out for Davis Pass on the opposite side of Wanda Lake. One of the ladies who had camped on the lakeside of the trail asked me if I knew anything about “Hell For Sure” Pass. I told her all that I knew about it, which was nothing. I had heard of it and probably would hike over it one day because how could anyone resist something named Hell For Sure Pass. We talked for a bit, said goodbye, and she headed back to her camp site while I headed towards the Wanda Lake outlet.
MIsty Wanda Lake.jpg
The climb to Davis Pass was straight forward and relatively easy. I made it to the tarns in the saddle in 25 minutes. While a mist still hovered over Wanda Lake, the sun had come out up higher where I was, and I got my tent out to dry while I continued across the pass. I rock hopped my way to the other side of the saddle and gazed down on the stark beauty of Davis Lake. Browns and greens surrounded the lake’s azure waters, snow melt streaming down from the high peaks surrounding the bowl holding the lake. I definitely plan to include this lake in a future adventure.
Davis Lake 2.jpg
On my way back to my tent, I stopped at a tarn and broke the surface ice to refill my water bottles with cold, pure snow melt. As I ate a Snickers and continued waiting for my tent to dry, three young men made their way through Davis Pass on their way to Goddard Canyon. We chatted for a bit before they headed down to the lake. I had grown weary of waiting for my tent to dry, so I packed it up still a bit damp and headed back towards Wanda Lake.


… Sorry for the interruption. I no longer heard the pitter patter of hail and rain on my tarp, so I quickly got my pasta boiling and ate dinner, another yummy 440 calories. Now back to the days events.

I met a young lady at Sapphire Lake who was spending 8 weeks in the Sierra with her mom. She had hiked the JMT in 2015, a few weeks before I hiked it and first fell in love with the Sierra. She commented on how much more water there is this year and pointed to a few rocks in Sapphire Lake that she said she had waded out to in 2015 and were now just barely poking above the lake surface. She and her mom were planning on camping at Wanda Lake, so I showed her some pictures of Davis Lake. She told me that she might just have to hike up to the pass and take a look for herself that afternoon after making camp.
Sapphire Lake.jpg
I stopped and talked to several other hikers as I slowly made my way north towards Darwin Bench. I talked to an English gentleman at Evolution Lake while I had second breakfast. He was also a fan of the Skyscape Trekker, and he noticed my tent, which I had out drying again. There doesn’t seem to be many of us SMD users out here. I'm glad I decided to take the plunge and try a tarp style tent. The "freestanding tents" weigh more and cost 50% to 100% more than similarly sized offerings from Tarptent and SMD. It was an easy decision for me, and one that I don't regret one bit.
The user trail to Darwin Bench was easy to follow, much nicer than the trail up to Lake Italy, but while I was mentally in a good place, I was physically falling apart. I found a good spot on the bench, set up camp, and refilled my water bottles. I had a double peppermint tea and a ranch tuna burrito for lunch at 2:30. Between the dark clouds and my tiredness, I decided to take the rest of the afternoon off and leave the Darwin Lakes for tomorrow morning. Assuming good weather, I should still be out by Day 16.
Campsite 2.jpg
Looking Towards Darwin Lakes.jpg
Where I Came From.jpg
My food is getting low again, so I definitely need to get back to MTR by Day 11. Even though it was a low mileage day, only 9.5 miles, I will try to get some more food in me later this night. 2,500 calories for the day is my goal. Wherever and whenever you are reading this. Good morning, good day, good night, and Get On the Trail!
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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by tomba » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:51 pm

Reading the report as journal entries makes me feel like I was there.

Do you write the journal on paper?
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AlmostThere
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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:28 am

Nice trip, very similar to one I've planned to make. Though I'd go cross country between some of the destinations.

I've caught some nice brook out of the upper Lake a few years ago.

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Re: Way Too Long Hotsprings Hike Report, 8/15 - 8/29

Post by ofuros » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:19 pm

Enjoyable read, Lumbergh21. :thumbsup:
Out 'n about....looking for trout.
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