The early wake up call worked out great in that I was on the trail by 6:45am. Amanda and Svetlana left 15-20 minutes before me, but I figured it wouldn’t be difficult to catch up to them given Svetlana’s condition. The blisters were also much better given the break they had and time to dry out.
The hike up Bear Creek was advertised relative to beauty. Really nice cascades and waterfalls throughout the hike, with a ton of great camping. I can imagine this being a destination given the easy access to some of the roads in the Edison Lake area. The trail was more up-and-down than expected, and you can tell it was less traveled, but overall I agree it was a better alternative to what I heard about grueling Bear Ridge.
It took me about 30 minutes to catch up to Amanda and Svetlana, and it was clear that Svetlana’s back wasn’t getting any better. She was transitioned to be up front to set a pace she could handle, and take breaks when needed. Amanda and I offered to take on some of her load to make it easier, but Svetlana rejected the offers stating that she has to make it nine days. I couldn’t imagine her back getting better over that time.
Due to this, the pace was slow, and we made six miles to the JMT around 10:15am. While it was slower, I felt the need to stick with the ladies in case they needed any assistance with an extraction if it was needed with Svetlana. Time was passed getting to know Amanda and Svetlana and hearing about their adventures in the Sierras, which most prominently consisted of rock climbing. We ended up breaking for lunch in Rosemarie Meadow with the hope the break would help Svetlana.
This was short lived as we started the last incline up to Marie Lake and Selden Pass, Svetlana seemed to get worse with each step. Finally, around 10,500′ elevation, Svetlana started to indicate that the elevation was also affecting her. After a long discussion, it was decided the best option was to backtrack to a camp site at a lower elevation and most likely for Amanda and Svetlana to return to VVR to leave the trail. I ended up carrying Svetlana’s backpack back down the trail to a campsite at Rosemarie Meadow and returned to them on the trail. Svetlana was feeling better with the rest, and the two of them departed back down the trail. I don’t know exactly what happened to them, but did hear from a few other hikers that passed them up the trail (noteworthy given the girl without a backpack).
It was late, but I wanted to keep on schedule to enable getting to Muir Trail Ranch for my resupply as early as possible the next day. I resumed the hike up to Marie Lake and was rewarded with one of the most beautiful lakes on the trail, especially with the afternoon sun. Just stunning, and it got better the further up the pass you went.
Once over Selden Pass it was a short hike past Heart Lake (pretty cool) down to Sallie Keyes Lakes by 5:45pm for a long day. I camped on the south side just above the outlet, and it ended up being a great spot. I was able to soak my feet and test my modified pump filter (worked out reasonably well). There was a lot of fish activity which was fun to watch. I hit the tent early (8pm) with the thoughts of not looking forward to adding all the new weight with my resupply at Muir Trail Ranch!