Day 5 - August 15th

One thing that I wanted to do during this hiking trip was to get a good shoot of Milky Way Galaxy. I did try to get up at 2am to see if i could capture with my compact Sony RX100 V camera. It was cold at Silver Pass Lake at night! I played around with camera settings and pointed upward the sky with the hope that I could capture the Milky Way. None of the photos came out right. I could barely see the Milky Way in my photos but very blurry. I did not want to wake Cyndi up and also we had a long day hike tomorrow so I decided to go back to bed and hoped i would have other chances to stargazing again.

The sound of JetBoil that Cyndi made her coffee became my regular waking up alarm sound. I am not sure why but I seemed to eager to get out of bed. Maybe iIwas anxious to see what else the trail would offer me today. The scenery of John Muir Trail in the morning became very familiar. The air was so pristine with the reflection of morning sun was just purified my soul. I would not want this feeling to end. I embraced the moment!

We enjoyed the beautiful hike with more than 5 miles downhill (2000ft) toward Mono Creek trail. Eventually we crossed the footbridge and started to climb up again for another 2,000ft. The goal for today was to camp at Marie Lake. Cyndi mostly used Guthook app to navigate the trail. One of the hikers mentioned that "Marie Lake" is one the most beautiful secret lake on the JMT. We were looking forward to this lake. At some point, we will have to take off our shoes and crossed the river. I was particularly enjoyed the water crossing. It was refreshing and rejuvenated your body as my feet felt wet and cold. We were very impressed how much water that were available on the trail.

Meeting Chuck: We only knew by this first name "Chuck". I met him on top of Mtn Baldy on Sunday , July 29th as I trained for JMT. I was finding my way down via Bear Flat Canyon Trail and asked for direction. Chuck showed me the direction and I noticed he carried a thru-hike backpack so we chatted. It turned out that he was up here last Saturday as part of his John Muir training and met Cyndi and Andrea. He recalled Andrea was the one that about to embark 155 miles adventure in Mongolia. He planed to go Northbound (NOBO) a week early. The reason he trained hard because hiking NOBO was so much harder. You don't have enough time to acclimate. The starting point for NOBO is Mtn Whitney. Hiking from Bear Flat Canyon to Mtn Baldy was an excellent training route for those who live in Southern California. The distance was 6 miles on way with more than 6,000 ft elevation gain so it was very stiff climb. We discussed about our gear choices and asked the feedback about my solar panel charger. We were joking that we might see each other again on JMT because we were going in opposite direction. Ironically today we were hiking in the forest and as usually the early afternoon storm were formed in high sierra and we were experiencing a little rain. Everyone on the trail were wearing rain coat and/or trash bag pinchot to cover their gears. We passed three hikers and as a normal greeting gesture we said "hi" and hiked on... suddently one of the gentlemen turned around and said "Dan". I turned around and I knew immediately it must be "Chuck". I called Cyndi back and we got together, introduced, happy and were surprisingly we saw each other on trail. Chuck said he got to recognize me with my solar panel mounted on my backpack. This is one of those moment that added to the true meaning of "Our paths will cross again". It was so true!

Our own Marie Lake (10,576ft): The sun came out as we marched on toward Marie Lake. It was around 5 pm when we arrived at the lake. It was beautiful like most the lakes on the John Muir trail. There were three hikers having early Dinner near the edge of the lake. We chatted a little bit but they wanted to hike on. It was very strange that people hiked this late into the night but the beauty about the wilderness was that we had the freedom doing whatever we pleased in the wilderness. After we setup our camp, we noticed something about the quietness of the lake. I told Cyndi " no one here but us"! I started to wonder was there something wrong about this lake that I didn't know? Was there a murder that was why no one here? We also heard the Coyotes howling that added to my concern. I stopped my mind from wandering and felt luxurous that we had this beautiful lake for ourself. That was why we hiked seeking the solitude and wonderful of mother nature. We took our water filtering, Jetboil and cooked our Dinner right the shoreline of the lake. As Cyndi always did, planned for the next day hike. I totally trusted her about her decision since everything went so well beyond my expectation. We camped at mile 99.4 of JMT. Tomorrow was the resupply day at Muir Trail Ranch (MTR)!

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We owned Marie Lake for one night!