JMT - Day Sixteen

August 8, 2015
10 miles today, 159 miles total
Upper Palisade Lake to Marjorie Lake

There was frost on everything this morning. We had a hot oatmeal breakfast and gazed up at Mather Pass in the morning light, its ominous presence looming over us.

We packed up and left camp before the rest of “tent city” – we were hoping to beat most of them to the next campsite.

The climb to Mather Pass was steep and full of difficult switchbacks, for but fortunately it was only two miles and shaded from the sun. It only took Courtney and I an hour to reach the top. We rested and had second breakfast while looking down at the Palisade Lakes far below.

The south side of Mather was steep but even shorter, and then the rest of the morning took us through flat, moon-like landscape for six miles. Courtney and I were ahead of the rest of our crew, so we kept pausing to wait for them, but they were lagging behind and didn’t catch up. We stopped for lunch at King’s River Crossing where Andrew, Heather and Jennifer finally met up with us.

The last three miles of the day went steeply uphill, and we were glad when we finally reached our destination: Marjorie Lake. We were hot and exhausted and excited to go for a swim in the lake. It was only 2:00pm so we pitched our tents, went for a quick dip (brrr!) and laughed as Andrew took his inflatable sleeping pad out into the lake, paddling madly to try and stay above the freezing water.

We lay on the rocks to dry off and then bundled up in warmer clothing. We played a few rounds of farkle and then, with nothing else to do, had fun picking trail names for each other. We joked that Andrew should be Tigger for his bouncy nature, and Heather should be Eeyore, because the other day she had sadly slumped off saying, “I guess I’ll go pee in the raaaaaain,” like a morose Eeyore, which had made us all laugh. Jennifer we dubbed “Little Big Toe” because her poor feet had been covered in blisters since day one.

It was only 4:00pm by then and we had quickly run out of things to do, so we gathered our dinner cooking supplies and sat in a circle setting up our Jetboils and checking our clocks.

“We’re not allowed to have dinner before 4:30,” we decided, thinking earlier than that would make us seem old. So, instead, we got everything ready and sat staring at our stoves for half an hour, waiting for the clock to change. At exactly 4:30pm, we all fired up our Jetboils in unison.

Courtney and I were quickly running out of food – it had been six days since our last resupply stop and we were growing low on our snacks. Now that we had a lot more room in our packs, we divvied up the remaining food supplies and sorted them into days so we wouldn’t accidentally eat it all too soon.

After dinner we played a few more rounds of farkle and Love Letter and then turned in for bed at the late hour of 6:30pm.