Reds Meadow to Squaw Lake – John Muir Trail, Day 6

  • Day6/13
  • Distance (miles)21.4

As I set out from the backpacker’s camp at Reds Meadow, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and adventure. We’ve got a lot of mileage to cover today, but we’ll get a chance to relax for a bit a Virgina Lake. Don and I were both feeling strong, and we were ready to tackle the first climb of the day. The forest south of Reds was burned out and exposed, which made for a challenging and rugged terrain. However, we were up for the task and made quick work of the roughly 7-mile and 2500-foot ascent.

Somewhere around Duck Creek, we stopped for a brief break and an opportunity to look around. Were rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Thousand Island Lake, which we had passed the day before. The breathtaking scenery made all the hard work and effort worth it. It’s moments like these that make me want to hike and backpack as much as possible.

View to the valley south of Reds Meadow.
Looking north past Reds Meadow

Resting Our Tired Feet in Virginia Lake

By the time we arrived at Virginia Lake, we were exhausted from the heat and the long hike. Don and I both needed a break, and we agreed to take some time to soak our feet in the cold mountain lake.  Virginia Lake is a popular destination for backpackers and hikers, for obvious reasons. It’s also a great place to rest your tired toes after days, or weeks, on the trail.

As I dipped my feet into the chilly water, I could feel the swelling subside, and a sense of relief and relaxation washed over me. It’s essential to take care of oneself during these long hikes, and a quick dip in a mountain lake can do wonders for sore and tired feet. After a few minutes of soaking, we felt refreshed and ready to tackle the next leg of our journey.

Don hiking towards Virginia Lake.
Stopping at Virginia Lake to soak our feet

Making Camp at Squaw Lake

As the sun began to set, we finally reached Squaw Lake, just below Silver Pass on the north side. We quickly set up camp and started to prepare our dinner before darkness set in. I packed plenty of lightweight meals, like Thai Peanut Noodles, to keep me fueled for our long days hiking. What is missing, however, is variety. Thai Peanut Noodles were good the first couple of times, but I’m looking less and less forward to them as the days go on.

As I settled down to enjoy my dinner of Thai Peanut Noodles and tea, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey so far. While the hike had been challenging and demanding, it had also been a source of great joy and inspiration. Backpacking trips like this one are a fantastic way to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and create lasting memories.

Squaw Lake's pristine waters reflecting the rocky mountainside behind.
Looking for the perfect spot to set up camp by Squaw Lake

In just a few days, we would be picking up our Muir Ranch resupply.  As much as I like the dinners I’ve included in my meal plan, I’m not sure how much more I can take. I have three more Thai Peanut Noodles alone in my Muir Ranch resupply, which I pick up in 2 days. I’m craving a burrito right now.

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