Monday, August 3, 2015

JMT Day 9: Lake Virginia to Squaw Lake

Here's my warning to anyone who hikes this segment the same time of year I went: If you leave either Lake Virginia or Squaw Lake to hike in the direction of the other, you are committing to go the entire 5.3 miles or get eaten up by mosquitoes. Neither Virginia or Squaw Lake have terrible mosquitoes, but the entire area in between (Tully Hole, Fish Creek, Cascade Valley) does.

Nonetheless, it was very pretty. I began by going down, down, down from Lake Virginia to Tully Hole.

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Lake Virginia from my campsite

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Lake Virginia

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Rockfringe. Epilobium obcordatum. Evening primrose family.

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Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
I love seeing golden-mantled ground squirrels and other little critters eating appropriate foods instead of going after my trail mix.

After you leave Lake Virginia, you go down a canyon on switchbacks. The views are great but the whole time I thought "Oh, shoot I'm gonna have to go back UP the other side!"

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Paintbrush
Paintbrush

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There's a stream at the bottom (Tully Hole, Fish Creek), with flowing water... making me wonder where the @$@@# all the mosquitoes were coming from???

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You cross a pretty substantial bridge over the water, but there are a few other minor water crossings too so if you need to fill up it's hardly your last chance.

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Elephant's Head
A flower called Elephant's Head. Can you see it?

Streamside Bluebells
Streamside bluebells

Then I crossed a wooden bridge, looked right, and saw this:

Mosquito Breeding Habitat

THAT is where the mosquitoes were coming from.

Which isn't to say it wasn't pretty:

Lupines and Paintbrushes
Lupines and Paintbrushes

Columbine
Columbine

Penstemon
Mountain Pride Penstemon, Penstemon newberryi var. newberryi.

And, at last I reached Squaw Lake and finding a nice flat area next to it perfect for several tents.

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So I pitched mine:

My Little Tent

Then I did all of my laundry, washed myself, ate, and hung out with a nice group of fellow JMTers camped there.

Day 9 miles hiked: 5.3 mi
Day 9 elevation gain: 1100 ft
Total Distance Hiked to date: 63.3 mi
Total JMT distance hiked to date: 47.6 mi

All of my JMT photos can be seen here.

Previous JMT posts:

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