September 14, 2019—Day 7 on the JMT
Deer Creek to Purple Lake
Total distance walked: 7.7 miles
We spent another uneventful 12 hours in the tents away from the mosquitoes, and by 8:30AM, were back on the trail to Purple Lake. Having camped near Deer Creek—the last water source for the next six miles—we filled our bottles and reservoirs to the gills.
The first order of the morning was to cross over the creek. While I picked out an easy rock-hop path, Michael found a log that spanned the water. So much for the water shoes we brought.
The forest provided an abundance of shade while we walked. Like yesterday, it was another steady climb with beautiful vistas. Occasionally we caught glimpses south to the Silver Divide.
The sun was bright in the sky, such a difference from last year when we had rain, hail, and mostly cloudy days. To pass time, we played memory games like I’m Going on A Trip, and The Song Title Game. We continued looking at rocks. Indeed, Michael chose one small rock per day to give to his wife.
We stopped and watched a sparrow-sized bird voraciously dig into a pinecone to get its nutritious seeds.
The trail climbed along the north wall of Cascade Valley only to descend on the edge of a windy mountain.
We kept a slow, steady pace downhill due to my fear of being on the edge, and because the wind blew my hair into my eyes making it difficult to see the trail. I thought of a post I saw on Facebook about the element of wind. This person really disliked wind but gave thanks and praise to God because it’s another one of His wonderful creations. I tried to keep that in mind when strong gusts made it feel like we’d be blown off the mountain.
By early afternoon we reached Duck Creek and crossed it high above the water. We stopped for a break and Michael filled our water bottles.
Immediately beyond Duck Creek we began a grueling uphill slog on rocky switchbacks.
About the time I was weary of climbing, Purple Lake came into view.
We finally reached the lake at 4:00PM. The west shore had lakeview campsites, but instead of stopping there, we crossed the lake’s outlet on a sturdy bridge and followed a short fishing trail up the mountain.
At the end of the trail we scrambled over a few boulders and found a very private site, albeit a little windy. How Michael was always able to find the best tent spot, I don’t know, but he did.
After a delicious and well-earned dinner—that we wolfed down just like the sparrow—we headed to bed. With all this going to bed before sunset, I was missing the night sky. I popped my head out of the tent for a look. The moon rode high across a sea of stars. Michael was snoring which made me happy because I knew he was getting the rest he needed. I tucked back in, inserted ear plugs and waited for sleep to overtake me.
To be continued…