July 18, a hard day but a good last full day out on the trail.
We awoke early, recuperating from the sand storms and readied to leave. That day's itinerary included 10 miles through Island Pass, Thousand Island Lake, and Garnet Lake. So a beautiful and hard day for sure.
As we headed up Island Pass I contemplated what was to come in my life, 11th grade and new perspectives. I enjoyed planning for the new school year. We made our way through grass fields and pines. Thousand Island Lake soon came into view and the mountains surrounding it. We took a break and I took a bunch of pictures, because I just loved that area and the peak above. Thousand Island Lake did indeed, have a bunch of islands. It was beautiful in its complexity. We passed large groups of people and the trail meandered over flatlands and rolling hills near streams and little ponds. Another break was in store so we stopped and relaxed and huddled from the cold.
We soon continued on and made our way to Garnet Lake. We were very tired by then so we stopped and rested near the lake. My dad fell asleep while I relaxed. Then we crossed a beautiful bridge and... got lost. We took a wrong turn and headed down a steep, rocky chute. Thankfully we encountered some fishermen and they told us that this wasn't the JMT. We turned around and crossed rock slabs, but we soon found the trail again. It circumnavigated the lake and then switchbacked up the hillside as we took it easy and met some pretty cool people.
Next, we had to conquer some pretty steep hills and then head down an extremely rocky valley. The rocks twisted and tilted as we stepped, but it was exciting and fun. Now we were heading down a large valley and we soon stopped for lunch. On the menu was hard avocados on tortillas and Trail Butter. Yummm. No really it was actually pretty good. As we ate we took in the views, the views of snow, rock, tree, and blue sky. It was beautiful and we again soon headed deeper into the valley. Reaching Shadow Creek we filtered water and then headed up the switchbacks to our campsite a few miles away.
Rosalie Lake was perfect, a great spot to spend our last night. Of course all the premium camps were taken, but we found a nice secluded spot with a great vista. Setting up camp was comparably easy to the night before. But the finality of our last night out there soon set in and we reflected on our past few days. We decided we needed to book a hotel in Mammoth, since we had cell service, so we called my mom and talked to her about our trip and her trip and then booked our hotel. Some confusion ensued on the phone with the Travelodge agent, but the annoyance was eventually cleared up. We changed into our warmer clothes as the sun went down over the cliffs above and made dinner. As we took some pictures and readied for bed I reflected on what had transpired. My realization that backpacking was not for me and that the monotony of hiking and filtering water and setting up camp every single night was simply put, boring. Coupled with the fact that as a runner I'm used to flying down descents and powering uphill, as a backpacker I couldn't even truly run downhill, more of a light jog, than fly down one.
But, we went to bed and slept peacefully awaiting the relief of finally being over with the JMT and reflecting on the good and bad times. So thanks JMT for all those times, I'll remember them...forever.