We weren’t quite as leisurely this morning as we were the day before. We didn’t have far to travel this day, but we also both wanted to get out of the miserably cold wind and down to a lower elevation for the relief that it might bring. I felt awful. So awful, that I was considering going all the way back to the car that day.

I kept that thought to myself while we ate breakfast and packed up our camp. Breakfast was granola. I had hot water in mine, even though it didn’t have any milk powder like Ambrose’s did. The hot water still made the granola warm and soft, which was nice. The same deer from yesterday wandered around outside our tent, getting closer and closer until she settled at a spot that I still thought was incredibly close.

Good morning, deer.

So close!

After we were packed up, I gave one last longing look to the snow covered approach to Browns Peak, and then we headed out. We stayed close together on the trail down from Browns. Even feeling ill, I still found myself having to stop and wait for Ambrose.

Ready to go and pouting.

Crossing the Little Queens wasn’t as hard this time, but I still needed Ambrose to go first to show the way. I kept looking at my options and not seeing the easier ones.

Goodbye, Browns Lake.

The start of the Little Queens River.

Once we hit the trail junction and were back on the Queens River Trail, I asked Ambrose about going all the way back to the car. He vetoed that idea, and I grumbled but agreed. Then I was free to zoom ahead and zoom I did. If I couldn’t go all the way back today, then I was at least going to get to our campsite as fast as possible and lay down.

A still reflection of blue sky.

Swath of green.

These sure look like violets to me, but I’ve never seen any in Idaho before.

The same trail that had taken us about 4 hours to get up only took me about 2 to get down. I spent some time sitting and recovering before I pitched the tent. This time it was a nice pitch, tight and snug. I was just getting ready to blow up my sleeping pad and get inside when Ambrose walked up. We’re both faster going mostly downhill.

We split up at the junction.

Part of the trail has been washed out.

I’m not sure what these flowers are called, other than pretty.

He offered me the use of his sleeping pad and suggested I take some Benadryl and take a nap. I thought that was a great idea, so I did just that after eating lunch. It was a great plan, really it was. But it had a fatal flaw. I’d pitched the tent where it would catch a lot of sun, and the cruelly cold wind wasn’t blowing down here. Inside the tent, I was baking, sweating all over Ambrose’s sleeping pad even when I stripped down to just my underwear.

View down the valley.

Getting closer to the campsite.

I just couldn’t fall asleep in the heat, even with the antihistamines. At one point I went down to the river to try and get cold so the heat in the tent would feel good. But there wasn’t a good place for a dip in the river, and I couldn’t get myself to lie down in water so cold. I compromised by prodigious splashing, but back in the tent, I was quickly hot again.

I did discover that the mesh in our tent is some kind of magical mesh. It doesn’t keep all of the wind out, but it does keep some out, which I think is pretty impressive for mesh. The difference between sitting in the tent with the mesh doors shut and the mesh doors open is significant. Amazingly so. The more I use this tent, the more I know it was worth every penny we spent on it.

A little waterfall where we stopped for water on the way up.

By the time it was cool enough to spend time in the tent, Ambrose informed me that it was my turn to make dinner. My stomach was still feeling a bit off, and so I said I would, but I didn’t want to eat any of the vegetable masala. I just wanted rice and Spam. He agreed, so that’s what I cooked.

The view of our campsite area from above.

I made up the minute rice in the gallon freezer bag, and then set it in my hat to cook. I also tucked the Spam singles in the hat so they would get warm. That worked even better than I expected. The Spams were hot when the rice was ready to eat. I used a spork to slice them into the rice and had trouble holding on to them, because they were so slick with hot grease. I mixed everything up and Ambrose and I ate dinner.

Ah, the campsite.

Even he had to admit that I had cooked the best meal of the trip.

After that, we got ready for bed. The next morning was going to be anything but leisurely. We had to get to the car as quick as possible so we could get home with enough time to unwind.

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