The golden early morning sunlight bathed the steep white granite canyon walls with a golden glow. We descended the canyon following the creek past grassy meadows where corn lilies and mule's ears bloomed with bright yellow flowers.
We waded across Stubblefield Creek (7,940 ft) and began climbing up to MacComb Ridge (8,910 ft), following exposed granite terraces past gnarled junipers with peeling red bark swirling around their trunks. A colorful parade of wildflowers brightened our path: pure white Mariposa lilies, bright red paintbrush, pale lavender Sierra daisies, magenta and purple penstemon.
From the ridge we descended to Wilmer Lake (also referred to as Wilma Lake), swampy and forested around the edges with beautiful white granite cliffs rising steeply from one side. At 987 miles according to the outdated data book, this marked 1,000 miles of hiking for us, due to the extra 13 miles hiked on the frog reroute. But we didn't stop to celebrate. The air was so thick with mosquitoes you couldn't stretch out your hand without accidentally slapping one. Or two. Or a whole swarm.
But not far from the lake, Carson discovered a mosquito-free haven where the creek cascaded into deep pools of water, including a circular whirlpool sized for two. We stopped to soak and swim.
Similar to Lyell Canyon near Tuolumne Meadows, Jack Main Canyon rises slowly, following the creek upstream through rocky meadows and grassy forests. We made good time in this gentle terrain, reluctant to stop for too long for fear the mosquitoes would pick our bones clean. Hiking until we reached Dorothy Lake, we found a relatively bug free camp on the ridge overlooking the lake.