August 30, 2002 Quail Meadows to Upper Sally Keyes Lake 34º-60º @VLC
We ended up going 14.8 miles today; started at 7:50 and finished about 6:00 p.m. About a 4,000′ gain according to Todd. The guidebooks indicated a difficult ascent up Bear Valley, but it seemed pretty easy. That rest day did wonders. Saw a few hikers and a few fishermen on the trail today, took my last picture of the roll at Selden Pass, and camped at Upper Sallie Keys Lake. Tim and Cheryl had caught us at Selden Pass, and we chatted briefly about the resupply ahead at Muir Trail Ranch. Then they went on; they always did like to hustle on it seemed. I shot the last picture on my roll at the pass. After descending sharply from the pass past Heart Lake, the terrain flattened out for about a mile; I actually went ahead of Todd here, which showed me that we were going maybe a bit too long that day.
We went on to the upper Sallie Keyes Lake, a beautiful one of a pair of lakes. We each scouted around a bit to find a comfortable camping spot. I noted several tents on the opposite shore of the lake; one of the few times on the trip I could sense other folks in the vicinity of my camp. As I calculated the day’s distance, I realized how strong I had felt; the day off had done my stamina and/or strength wonders. The ascent out of Vermillion Valley had seemed like nothing. The clear, open sky seemed unusually expansive that night, and I saw a fireball and several meteors before I nodded off.