Mile 948.6-963.9 (15.3)
Slept in until 8am. Dragged everything out onto sunny rocks to dry, tried to eat. Only a sip of water left, though, so breakfast would wait.
Packed up and soon came upon a little stream of meltwater. Drank a liter and got lunch soaking. Hiked on.
Another warm and clear day. The trail was gentle and wet. In the morning I walked through cool forests and one spectacular meadow. I made my way downhill, crossed the swift McCabe and Return Creeks, and ate lunch in the full sun with my feet soaking in the cold water.
After lunch I made my way back up to 9500 feet and walked along a flooded ridge. There was a lake up there, but whole swaths of land that should have been dry were instead covered in water. Two miles up there and then back downhill via a steep and snowy pseudo-trail.
I crossed Matterhorn Creek and a smattering of very healthy streams. The trail itself became a small stream at times, and small fish swam up it as I came splashing through.
By 5pm I had hiked only 13 miles. With the late start, full lunch break, and painstakingly slow pace over slopes snowfields, I doubted I would break 20 miles. Didn’t feel too bothered. My heart wasn’t really in it today.
I hiked up to Wilson Creek and found it deep and fast-moving. I cried Uncle. Pitched my tent and prayed it would be lower in the morning.