It felt like I was sleeping on rock…that’s cause I was. My air beam sleeping pad must have sprung a slow leak, cause I woke up on a lack of air, and it was hard.
We packed up under the granite towers above us, and started down the many switchbacks to Ardeth Lake. It was beautiful and buggy. We walked down down down the thousands of feet we had hike up a few days before. We were down to the last bits of food, carefully rationed out to get us to the car tomorrow afternoon.
Hammocks came out again for a lunch break, and a train of mules and horses passed us. We’ve seen several mule trains on the trail each day, and because there are still a fair amount of downed trees across the trail, the horses and mules have been forging some huge bypasses up and around them. It’s impressive where horses can go off trail without breaking a leg, but also has me a bit pissed off at the destruction they are causing on the side of the trail. Most of the horse packers carry a saw, and clearing some of the trees would only take a short while. Seems to me if they are using the trail so heavily, that they should help out and clear some of the downed trees as they pass by each day. There are fewer and fewer resources for the forest service to maintain trails…as it is most are done by volunteers. I know the folks from the Idaho Trails Association have their hands full.
Back to the trail…we continued on and by mid afternoon we were quite stumbly. The more we dropped in elevation, the warmer it got. In fact it was down right tropical around Fern Falls. We had hit prime wild flower season.
We stumbled into camp, the same camp as night one, and went down to immerse ourselves in the cool water and wash away the heat.