In a blog entry I posted a few weeks ago about Donahue Pass, I said that each of the eight major passes on the John Muir Trail was named after a particular person. Actually, that’s not true.
Seven of the eight are, but the second major pass you encounter when hiking southbound is Silver Pass, and it gets its name from the same place as the Silver Divide and Silver Creek. (In fact, the only geographical feature named for a “Silver” is Silver Creek Grove, within Sequoia National Park, named for Frank Silvers, who once owned the land.)
The name “Silver” (at least in regards to this part of the Sierra Nevada) began when Theodore S. Solomons, who some call the “father” of the John Muir Trail, named Silver Creek in 1892. He thought its rushing water appeared silvery, and thus the name. Silver Peak was also named by Solomons, presumably because of its proximity to the creek.
The USGS took the name further; when the Mount Goddard map of 1912 was first published the Silver Divide appeared on it, as did Silver Pass.
Just prior to emerging onto the pass, you’ll chance upon several lakes whose names are variations on a theme: Lake of the Lone Indian, Papoose Lake, Chief Lake, Warrior Lake and Squaw Lake. (Brave Lake is also nearby, but not visible from the JMT.)
Silver Pass is about eighty trail miles from Happy Isles. As you descend off Silver Pass and walk alongside Silver Pass Lake you’ll know that you have more than a third of the trail behind you.
Good hiking, Ray