September 5, 2016
Miller Lake (mile 959.7) to bushcamp (mile 982.1)
Our total miles: 2340.8
We were both glad we put on the rain fly. We woke up with frost on the tent and bear cans. Even with the fly Laurie whimpered as she got out of her sleeping bag. It is definitely Fall.
We were walking by 7am. The sun was out but had not yet hit our campsite or Miller Lake. The meadow next to the lake was dusted in white and there were ice crystals in the sand.
Today was a day of hard ups and downs. The elevation gain and loss was no harder than what we faced in Washington but the trail was much more rocky.
The rocks made for slow going as we navigated up big rock steps and down the steep granite cobblestone trail.
The climb up to Benson Pass was beautiful but unrelenting. We walked though green and yellow meadows, finally ending in a basin of granite and yellow grass. The marmots were the only other creatures we saw all morning.
We dropped down, climbed up and dropped down some more. The trail never seemed to take a direct route.
We spotted a family of deer, 2 adults and 3 little spotted ones. They are amazing creatures, turning their necks 180 degrees to watch us walk by.
Laurie talked to them as we passed but the little ones were skittish. Everytime the trail took us close, they bounded off. It looked as if they had springs under each leg. We both wish we could run with such ease and grace.
We walked by mountains made out of granite. Their sheer walls shone in the evening light. Shadows and trees gave the granite ledges distinction and perspective.
The trail led us along Kerrick Creek. Where the trail crossed the creek we were astonished to see it dry. It is hard to believe that 3 months prior it was raging and taking people down with it!
We ran into 4 SOBOs and 5 older men within a span of 5 minutes. We hadn’t seen a soul all day and then all of a sudden it felt like social hour.
We climbed up and over our last little hill of the evening. We talked about camping up high, away from the river and meadow, in an attempt to stay warmer.
We had just enough water to do so but also wanted to get as far as we could so as to make the following 2 days shorter.
We climbed up, looking for potential spots but with the agreement to stop only if the view was so epic we couldn’t pass it up. We didn’t find any said spots so we crested the hill and started down.
About 0.3 miles from the bottom of the canyon and creek, we spotted a fire ring and a few flat spots.
It was right around 7 pm and we were tired. We decided to call it for the night and went about setting up our home.
By 9 pm we were fed, warm and sleepy. It never felt particularly cold and we hope it stays this way during the night.
Tonight we are grateful for solitude and a warm campsite.