With Sole Catcher and Jo off last night to enjoy the hot springs, we planned to meet them further up the trail. After a night of heavy condensation due to our proximity to the river, we were extra cautious in packing our gear away. Hitting the trail in the cool of the morning, we threaded our way through a tree filled valley, with the trail cutting in on some small canyons. A long undulating series of miles across pine needles allowed us to make good time. While the hot springs tempted us when we passed the turnoff, an extra three miles and the chance of an infected knee put us off. Passing a couple of northbound JMT hikers, we caught up with the other two after fleeing mosquito filled meadows. From here it was six miles climbing to the top of our next pass. The first few miles switchbacked sharply up the side of the hill, before a pleasant plateau evened it out. Another great campsite was found. It was next to a babbling stream nestled in the woods, but once again it was far too early in the day. Continuing up, the trail roller-coasted for a while, before wandering by a very nice lake. Our first attempt to stop for lunch was met with a horde of mosquitos, as was our second. It wasn’t until we got high above the lake and found some large smooth granite boulders that we found some peace. Here we had an expansive view over a lake nestled in a small valley, with a backdrop of snowy mountains. To make it even better we were investigated by one of the local marmots to see what was going on. After he disappeared behind us, Sole Catcher suddenly became worried about his quilt drying in the sun. Standing up much like the pose of said marmot, he stated that the individual might make off with his quilt. Before taking off at a rapid pace to make sure. After this hilarity, we only had a mile and half to the top. Strolling up the trail we were presented with small deep blue lakes, so clear you could see everything in them. Snow lined the side, but barely proved a hinderance. Some small switchbacks took us to the top of Seldon Pass, where we admired the views and tried to take a break. But even at 11,000 feet the mosquitos don’t quit, and we fled down the hill. The next seven miles took us off the ridge and down into another tree filled valley. While the scenery was beautiful, any pause was met with a cloud of bugs, so we admired it on the move. Tired from some long days, we finally found a dinner spot above the river that was relatively bug free. That was until Jo came in carrying a cloud with her. Afterwards a short climb gave us some altitude and with it views over the valley. Here we found a perfect campsite nestled near the edge of a slope that allowed me to look out of our tent at the valley below.
Miles hiked – 20