Grouse Meadow over Mather Pass to Lake Marjorie – John Muir Trail, Day 10

  • Day10/13
  • Distance (miles)20.1
  • Pass 7 of 10Mather Pass
  • Pass Elevation (ft.)12,080

Waking up at Grouse Meadow, I couldn’t help but appreciate the serene beauty of my surroundings. The calmness of the morning provided a great opportunity to work on my morning routine. However, Don was already two steps ahead, showing his mastery of our daily routine. He’s up and ready for our hike over Mather Pass to Lake Marjorie today before I even sip my coffee.

As we were packing up to leave, we met a hiker who had a footwear emergency. He needed his wife to send him new shoes in his next resupply. His current pair was coming apart at the seams. In a true act of kindness, Don offered him some duct tape to hold him over. He even used his InReach to help send a text to the hiker’s wife. The good deed bought me some time to prepare and, soon enough, we were on the trail again.

Morning light breaking over Grouse Meadow.
Morning light breaking over Grouse Meadow

Grouse Meadow to Mather Pass: The Golden Staircase

We soon began our ascent towards Mather Pass, climbing up the Golden Staircase. While on the staircase, we ran into a group of trail workers who were spending their summer working on the trail. They were sweating it out by smashing, lifting, and rolling granite boulders around to improve a section of trail made in 1938. Their efforts were aimed at ensuring that the trail would be safer for hikers and lead to fewer injuries in the future.

Don climbing the Golden Staircase to Mather Pass.
Climbing the Golden Staircase to Mather Pass

As we approached the top of the Mather Pass, we heard a loud pop in the distance. The unmistakable sound of boulders crashing followed soon after. We quickly spun around to pinpoint the source and realized that an enormous rock slide had started to careen down the mountain about a quarter-mile from us. Standing on the side of a mountain with thousands of large, precariously balanced boulders above us after this was unsettling, to say the least.

Climbing the Golden Staircase to Mather Pass.
The rock slide took place on this mountain range a couple of minutes after this shot was taken.

Mather Pass to Lake Marjorie

We finally reached the top of Mather and began our descent towards Lake Marjorie. The trail led us below the tree line and into the valley before eventually climbing back up towards Marjorie Lake. When we arrived, we managed to find a campsite, and although it was not even sundown yet, most hikers around us had already retreated to their tents.

As we quietly set up camp on a hillside near the lake, we couldn’t help but whisper for fear of breaking the deafening silence. Tomorrow’s hike over Glenn Pass and Pinchot Pass is bound to be epic. For now, I just need a little sleep.

Setting up camp at Lake Marjorie.
Don setting up his shelter next to Lake Marjorie

My Backpacking Meal Plan

After a long day on the trail, I was looking forward to dinner. Although it was not my favorite backpacking meal, I was still excited to have Pesto Parmesan Noodles. As much as I missed Mac & Cheese, the meal would do for the night.

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