Squaw Lake to Marie Lake – John Muir Trail, Day 7

  • Day7/13
  • Distance (miles)21
  • Pass 4 of 10Silver Pass
  • Pass Elevation (ft.)10,900

As I wake up at Squaw Lake to the sound of my alarm ringing at 5:30am, I’m reminded that today is another day on my JMT backpacking trip. Tonight I’ll be sleeping at Marie Lake, but this morning, I wake up on a flat air mattress again. There’s nothing like sleeping on a cold, hard granite rock to remind you of where you are. I feel a sense of comfort knowing that Don is making himself hot coffee and muffins to start the day. His morning routine is helping to dull his impatience with me while I break down camp.

Today, we’re headed over Silver Pass, our fourth mountain pass in as many days. As we climb higher, I can’t help but notice how the scenery keeps getting more and more stunning. The lakes, creeks, and meadows continue to get more and more beautiful the further south we get.

Don hiking down the north side of Silver Pass.
More lakes on the north side of Silver Pass

However, with the beauty of nature comes the not-so-pleasant side of things – mosquitoes. The closer we get to water, the more mosquitoes there seem to be. Today’s hike from Mono Creek up to Marie Lake was particularly bad, and I finally gave in and used 100% DEET to keep the mosquitoes away. It’s not my favorite thing to use, but it’s necessary.

A creek near the trail to Marie Lake.
Water was everywhere today, and so were the mosquitos

After a long and tiring hike, we set up camp alongside Marie Lake on a couple of granite outcroppings. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to stake my tent, so I cowboy-camped under the stars. The mosquitoes were still buzzing around, so I kept my head net on until I finally fell asleep.

Don hiking the JMT alongside Marie Lake.
Looking for a good place to camp near Marie Lake

I stayed up for a couple of hours to marvel at the starry sky. It was pitch black around me, and the sky was crystal clear, unlike any other sky I’d ever seen before. I could see the Milky Way over Seldon Pass to the south, and it was a truly stunning sight.

The Milky Way shining brightly over Seldon Pass.
The Milky Way shining brightly over Seldon Pass

Backpacking Meal Plan

I had Carnation Breakfast Essentials and milk for breakfast. Breakfast is officially my favorite meal of the day now. Dinner, on the other hand, is beyond old. Curry Couscous and tea was great at home when I had other options, but its proving to lack in practice. I can’t emphasize how much I’m looking forward to checking the hiker boxes at Muir Trail Ranch tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able swap out some of these dinners for something tastier.

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