I take a long time this morning to try a faster system to pack up - it isn't faster. I will learn. Then I rotate between my rocks to have various breakfast courses - tea facing the mountain, oatmeal facing the lake, nuts facing the Pass. I descend and ascend multiple times on this day. Every lake requires a long steep uphill to climb out of the basin over a small pass and then a steep descent to get to the lake itself. 10000 island Pass is lovely and I stop, drink, take photos and have reception again unexpectedly. It is such fun to be able to share and get photos out to friends. It turns from sunny to rainy and I don't linger at 10000 Island lake. At Garnet lake it turns sunny and so hot that I put my feet into it and as it is more crowded continue on to Shadow lake. I am surprised by how many groups of hikers I meet. August is a busy month and besides JMT through hikers there are lots of scout groups and family groups that do 4-5 days. In this area until Reds Meadow public access is great so this is a popular area.
I decide to go farther than planned to find quieter places and often pause where noone is. The quiet and humming of insects and bird calls is the loveliest moment in my day. Then a real shock: at the intersection of the JMT and Minaret Lakes easily 30 tents bloom. It feels like an RV park for tents. Its a rushing creek and a strategic place to camp. I run for it. It starts to rain and I am tired and we are not allowed to camp too close to the water. That leaves few options in this narrow canyon. Finally I camp near a family I have been leap frogging with all day, off in the woods on soft leaves. Not ideal but I am done for the day and it is raining. I am so tired, I only eat chocolate, take a while to find a spot where no deadwood is likely to fall on me in the night and crawl into my tent. This was my longest day - hour and distance wise. My diaphragm is so tight, it takes me until midnight to get comfortable. Lesson for tomorrow - my hike! Slow down, pause, rest even more.