JMT, Day 15: The Second Half Begins


Muir Trail Ranch to Seldon Pass to Bear Creek, 10.5 miles

We don’t wake up until 6, and we decide to stop back by MTR to drop off last night’s trash and fill up on some spring water before hitting the trail. In the first mile of today’s climb, we gain 700 feet, and then it’s up more switchbacks from there for most of the rest of the morning. Now that we are out of Kings Canyon and Sequoia, we are done with the big elevation. We only have 5 passes to cross over the next 110 miles, and the tallest is just over 11,000 feet.

Traveling northbound, the most dramatic scenery is likely behind us, and I am curious about how we will feel about the last two legs of the JMT. Will they be as enjoyable if we don’t find the scenery as inspiring? We are carrying heavier bags with our fresh resupply, and we both feel tired from yesterday’s hurried miles, so we take today slowly and try to enjoy the leisurely pace. Even though the views aren’t quite as impressive so far, the incredible trees are still knocking our socks off!

We have 2800′ of elevation to climb up to Selden Pass, and we are thankful that it is cooler and breezier today than it has been the past couple of days. Even so, the miles go by slowly. We stop and chat forever with the hikers we cross paths with and never even think to take off our packs when we do this. We always fool ourselves into thinking it’s going to be a short chat, but, before we know it, 15 minutes have passed. And we’ve been standing there the whole time with our packs on, so that doesn’t help!

The Sallie Keyes Lakes are our first big milestone of the day. As we reach the end of the middle lake, we notice large amounts of pollen on the lake’s surface that have drifted into some cool patterns.

On the way to Heart Lake, we stop by a pretty little waterfall to have lunch and cool our feet in the creek. We have found that dunking the dogs in the icy, cold water is the best remedy for the soreness that starts to come on around midday.

From there, we pass small Heart Lake before finally reaching 10,910′ Selden Pass, which really feels more like a prelude to a pass in comparison to what we have become used to on the JMT. From the top, there are great views of what we just hiked through behind us and beautiful Marie Lake ahead of us.

We don’t linger long, but instead head down a series of switchbacks towards the watery wonderland ahead. Marie Lake is gorgeous with small islands dotted throughout and perfectly placed rocks with pink heather on its shores. It feels like we could be walking around a manicured water feature in a botanic garden. It’s that perfect.

From there, we drop down to Rosemarie Meadow and then a final 1.4 miles to the Bear Creek Crossing. I have been dreading this river crossing since we planned the JMT but am delighted to find that it’s not particularly high or swift on this day—hallelujah! Even so, the water goes up above our knees and is pretty fast. We are very careful as we make our way across to the other side.

Safely across, we dry out on the giant granite rock slabs on the opposite bank, we decide that this would be a nice place to camp for the evening. We are a little shy of our goal of 12 miles, but we hope to get up early tomorrow morning and make up the missed miles. A few other hikers stop for the night here, too, but we have a lot more privacy tonight than last.


Tonight it is early to bed. Good night!

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