Day 4: Ediza Lake to Garnet Lake (August 25, 2012)
I woke up at 4am to Paul’s alarm. He moved just enough to shut it off and I wondered if he would have the motivation to get up and hike to the other side of the lake for some fishing like he had planned… No movement.
At about 5am I woke up again, this time to his headlamp. He had convinced himself to go fishing, and I began debating whether or not to find a spot with a view of the mountains to watch the sunrise. It was still dark, but I decided that if I was still awake in half an hour I would do it… I was still awake.
In the dark I climbed to a place I had found the previous day with a great view of the Minarets. The sunrise was spectacular!
After the sunrise I made my way back to camp where I was joined by Paul. He, once again, returned from fishing empty handed.
We took our time with breakfast and packing up camp since we were only going 5.5 miles to Garnet Lake. While we were cooking, the two hikers we had seen on Mt Ritter the day before walked by our camp and talked for a bit. They had climbed the lower cliffs route as I suspected.
The hike to Garnet lake followed the John Muir Trail and was quite crowded, but went by fairly quickly. By 3pm we had crossed the ridge and found a place by the lake to set up camp. I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging by the lake watching Paul attempt to catch a fish…
After a couple of unsuccessful hours of fishing, we returned to camp for some dinner.
Disappointed that he didn’t have fresh fish for dinner, Paul went back for a second try as the sun was setting. Another half-hour of nothing and he was ready to call it a night, “Just one more throw.” Apparently that little statement was all it took. He hooked one!
With the sun gone and the stars out, it was time to call it a night.
Day 5: Garnet Lake to Silver Lake (August 26, 2012)
We awoke to a fairly cool, but clear, morning. The sun was climbing quickly as we made breakfast, but our camp was in the shadow of the ridge, so it was quite late in the morning before we felt the warmth of the sun’s rays.
We had about 7 miles to hike back to the car taking a slightly different path than we took on day one. We hiked directly to Agnew lake rather than repeating the loop around Gem lake. But before leaving camp, Paul got in one more round of fishing.
We returned to Agnew lake through Spooky Meadow. The scenery here was different than any we had seen so far. The gray granite had been replaced by reddish lava rock and the meadow itself was strangely calm for how windy it was elsewhere on the trail.
Leaving the meadow started us on a grueling 3,000ft descent over a short 3 miles of trail. By the end of the hike my feet and knees were sick of walking on the unsteady, fist-sized rocks that covered the trail. I was definitely glad to have not come up this route on day one.
Back at the car we celebrated a fun trip. Even though we didn’t reach our target summits, we returned from 5 days in the back country safely with plenty of good stories and pictures.
See more photos on Flikr!
Be sure to check out the first 3 days of the trip!