JMT – Deer Creek to Lake Virginia, John Muir Wilderness, CA

August 12, 2014
John Muir Trail (JMT)
Day 9 – Deer Creek (9,100) to Lake Virginia (10,330),
9.7 miles.
Camped at Lake Virginia.

The turbulent weather continued through the night, spitting enough rain to soak the tent fly but not enough to wet the ground under the trees. We woke to the same unsettled sky that was to continue for the rest of the day.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

The first 6 miles of the day’s hike from Deer Creek to Duck Creek is, according to Elizabeth Wenk’s trail guide, one of the most monotonous stretches of the JMT.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

The changeable weather, however, colors the sky with patches of blue mixed with dark threatening clouds that produce little until just before Duck Creek when we are suddenly and briefly pelted with hail and large of drops of rain.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

This section, up, over and along the ridge has good views, occasionally visible through the trees, out to the west.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

Large pumice stones line the trail.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

At Duck Creek the scenery changes to an open valley with cliff views. Then it’s back to the previous scene, up and over a pass along a mountain side with views again to the west.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

The trail heads back down to Purple Lake, a pretty lunch spot. The clouds race across the sky changing the light on the water and surrounding peaks.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

We take the opportunity of fleeting moments of sunshine to dry out the tent and bedding while we eat.

John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake John Muir Wilderness, Deer Creek to Virginia Lake

Past this lake it’s a short two miles up and over another pass. Near the top is a rock glacier. Ice underneath the rocks moves the mass down the mountain side.

Virginia Lake

Virginia Lake

We arrive at Lake Virginia just before 3PM. On this windy afternoon, we choose a campsite in the trees just above the inlet. Clouds continue to fly by, some looking dark enough to produce rain, but all moving too fast to the east to be much of a threat. Patches of sun illuminate the surrounding cliffs.

Virginia Lake

The temperature drops in the howling wind and we eat in the protection of large boulders near the campsite. The gusts diminish some after sunset but the wind continues off and on for most of the night.

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This entry was posted in Hiking, John Muir Trail (JMT) California, Travel, Travel Western US and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to JMT – Deer Creek to Lake Virginia, John Muir Wilderness, CA

  1. Jerry says:

    did you see any deer along your adventure near deer creek

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