It was the last day of our trip and we spent the morning packing up and removing all traces of our presence from the campsite. We hit the trail around 10 am and it was already hot. The hike back was remarkably different than the hike in had been. Two days ago rain had left the trail flooded. Today the creeks were noticeably lower and areas where we had to forge on our way in, were now easily passable. It was striking what changes a couple of dry days will make to the landscape.
It was also a very different hike because the sun was shining and I wasn’t keeping my head bowed against the rain. I saw so much more of the beauty. The views weren’t shrouded in cloud. The smell of pine needles baking in the sun permeated the air. It’s a smell I love; a smell that takes me back to my high school years of trampling through the forests of Southern California.
It was lovely, but it was hot and by the time we reached Camp Lake I was desperate for a swim. We wasted no time wondering about bathing suits this time, just offloaded our heavy packs and stripped off our boots and clothes as fast as we could. The water was divine; cool and clean, a balm to my weary, aching, sweating body.