August 17, 2012 –Lake Virginia to Quail Meadow
Mileage: 13 Elevation: 7750 feet
Earliest start yet since we wanted to get to Silver Pass before the bad weather set in. Forecasts are not good for the next few days. The sky was cloudy when we woke, but cleared while we prepared to leave. As the sun was rising the remaining clouds turned pink. Lake Virginia was glowing and the distant mountains were lighting up. It was 6:20 a.m. A sunrise like that makes an early start easier.
We dropped down to Tully Hole, a beautiful meadow, and continued to lose elevation until we crossed Fish Creek; then we began our climb up to Silver Pass. Along the way we met John and Lisa, joining them in the ascent. As we neared the pass views opened up all around….mountains everywhere, a bonus as we climbed.
At the pass we shared Snickers bars with John and Lisa. They took our picture as we remembered Erik and Lena’s (our son and daughter in law) tenth anniversary celebrated that day. Don could not help but share a reading from Sunburnt Country as we sat and enjoyed the summit. It was a social event!
We hiked down the pass through the wide rocky slopes that surround Silver Pass Lakes. Part of the descent drops beside a magnificent wide rock waterfall with steep rocky switchbacks for hundreds of feet! At the bottom we soak our feet in the cold rushing water of Mono Creek. The trail follows the creek down to our lowest elevation yet, 7750 feet. Here there is a camping area which we happily use since once again the rains are moving in. This is getting tiresome!
The rain is brief, so we crawl out and make dinner. It is early so we decide to walk the 1¼ mile to Lake Edison. We are curious since the water level of the lake is said to be extremely low and the ferry to Vermillion Resort, where many people stop for respite, is not running. As we leave the camping area we find a note from John and Lisa, they have hiked on toward Vermillion where they will spend tomorrow night and pick up their cache. It is good to get their note and contact information. As we near Lake Edison we come upon John and Lisa’s campsite and have a chance to say good bye in person around their campfire. Fun! The lake is down so low it is mostly rocks…and this is a large lake!
Upon returning to our campsite Scott and Benjamin, a father and son from Chicago, have built a little fire. We spend the rest of the evening talking mountains. They have done the JMT before and can give us lots of information. Ben is spending next winter as a ski bum and might visit us.
It is a warm night and we fall asleep dry and happy.