Our journey down the John Muir Trail, name dropping all the way, continues this week.
Here we go with part 10.
Lake of the Lone Indian, Warrior Lake, Squaw Lake, Papoose Lake, and Chief Lake. The Lake of the Lone Indian was the first of the small lakes near Silver Pass to carry an “Indian” designation. James S. Hutchinson and his brother, Lincoln, saw “a very distinct profile of an Indian’s face and featherly head-gear in the mountain south of the lake.” (See photos, above and below.)
The tip of the lone Indian’s nose is at 11,428 feet. The other lakes picked up their related names over the years. Squaw Lake was originally Helen Lake, Warrior Lake was originally Bob’s Lake, and Chief Lake was once Warrior Lake.
Silver Pass. The second major pass you encounter when hiking the JMT 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 person 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.
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.
Pocket Meadow. One of the best (and there are many) spots in the Sierra Nevada for wildflowers in the spring, I was not able to discover who named Pocket Meadow. One can assume that the name came from the small “pocket” the box canyon forms in the surrounding terrain.
Mono Creek. In 1864 a survey party passed through this area; none of their records indicate that the creek at that time was named “Mono.” By 1894 Theodore Solomons was using “Mono Creek” in correspondence. (Browning, in his Place Names of the Sierra Nevada is quick to point out that Solomons didn’t necessarily coin the name.) It isn’t clear if Mono Creek shares the same provenance as Mono Lake. If so, the name has Indian origins.
Lake Thomas A. Edison. This lake, created when Mono Creek was dammed in 1954, flooding the Vermillion Valley, was named for the great inventor. The dam was completed on the 75th anniversary of the invention of the electric light. Vermillion Valley Resort runs a lake shuttle across the lake, to their compound, water level permitting.
Good hiking, Ray