Our last day begins, of course, with a steep uphill climb to beautiful views. We’re on the trail by 7:30 so we’re at least doing this first climb before it gets hot.
We head down again, naturally, and then back up toward what’s known as the “Crack,” a huge rock formation that’s well-known in the area and popular with day hikers.
It takes a good two hours of weaving back and forth along rocks, looking for the next cairn and/or blaze, before we actually hit the crack. It takes us longer to get there than I thought it would. We have a break on top of the rocks, enjoying one last really stunning views of the mountains and lakes before picking our way carefully down through the rocks.
By 10:30 or so, we are in a very flat area, running into day hikers coming to hike the famed crack, including a couple who recognize us the trail by Silver Peak two days ago. We chat a bit. They tell us how gorgeous the kayaking is in the area and salute our efforts to do the whole loop.
Actually, aided by some information from a friendly hiker we met yesterday, we have decided that we’re not really going to do the whole loop. There’s a cut off about 5 miles from the end of the actual loop that we can take out to the road. The plan is then to catch a ride the 4 ½ miles down to the campground and our car. The information that persuaded our decision was that the last section of trail is very low and boggy. We’ve already done too much bog-slogging for one trail; we’re not going to do more if we can avoid it. Even if we have to road walk the whole way, it will at least be dry.
On our way up the side trail, we hit a large mud patch that has a dry path on either side. It reminds me of the “wishing staircase” from Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and I say to Walt: “You walk left and I’ll walk right and we’ll each make a wish and kiss on the other side.”
He agrees and as we meet to kiss on the far side, he says: “I’m pretty sure that we have the same wish this time.”
A few hundred yards later, we come across another mud patch with 2 side trails. Without a word, Walt goes left, I go right and as we meet to kiss on the far side, he says: “Our wish didn’t come through last time.”
Without having told each other, we both know that what we are wishing is for the trail to end.
As much as we’ve really enjoyed the incredible views, the hard work, the peace and beauty of our camps, we’re ready for it to be done. Especially now that we’re on a boring, un-scenic flat path.
Soon we hear cars and we come up to a parking lot where we catch a ride back to our car. All is well with the world.