I was really hoping that I’d feel better in the morning. After all, I was supposed to be driving us home. Alas, I awoke not feeling any better than when I’d fallen asleep. The good news was I wasn’t feeling worse – and we had a very short hike for the day. I mean, it was only a few miles. Maybe 3. And mostly downhill, though there would still be some sections that I’d have to climb. 

A view from the campsite in the morning sun.

Another view from the campsite.

Ambrose is raring and ready to go.

I was glad that we didn’t have to get up early, but even the time we did get up was still too early for how I felt. Still, I got myself moving and settled into following Ambrose to the best of my ability. We’d soon be upon the first stream crossing for the day, and it was the one that we always have trouble at. Well, Ambrose more than me, but we’ve both had issues. I had talked about either wearing my crossing shoes when we started in the morning or taking my boots off when we got there, but in the end I did neither. 

This stream’s a beast. 

Water tends to run a bit lower in the mornings in the mountains, so both Ambrose and I managed it with boots on – though I got a tiny bit of water under the upper of my boot, it wasn’t bad. We hiked on. 
The flowers were blooming up a storm.

One step at a time, just keep walking…

Lots of bear grass blooming near the trail this year.

Still got to get around the downed trees. 

Finally made it to the Little Queens crossing – not far to the car now!

When we got to the boots-off crossing of the Little Queens River, I kind of expected to have a bit more rest than I got. Ambrose was actually faster than me in getting ready to cross, and usually I’m much faster than him. We both agreed to go right pass Ant Island (Ant Isthmus?) and put our boots back on in the sunshine where the trail turns to continue following the river downstream. 

I had a hard time crossing. It’s like my mind wasn’t interpreting things correctly, so I took a really backwards path to get across. I didn’t feel unsafe, but I didn’t feel like I was well in control of my route either. It felt awkward. But I made it safely across and got my boots back on well away from the biting ants. 
I kept following Ambrose; it was all I could do.

I bet an ITA trail crew could pack this out. 

When we got close to the next stream crossing, I made Ambrose slow down for me so I could show him the metal ladder I found near the old mining site. There’s actually a bunch of rusted debris stuck out there in that area, but most of its hidden and overgrown. Ambrose doubted that it could be packed out, but I had lifted it when I saw it before – it’s doable, though it would be a pain to maneuver past the stream crossings. 
Second to last stream crossing of the trip!

It’s funny how this was clearly fixed in the not to distant past, but more trees fell and the trail is blocked again.

About a mile left to get to the car from this bridge. 

I was looking forward to seeing what the trail looked like from this direction when we reached the part where we had to go around on the way up. When we got to where we had rejoined the trail, I initially thought it wouldn’t be so bad from this direction. I stayed with the trail, even when that meant I had to scoot under a big fallen tree. 
And then I reached the tree that had made me detour off trail on the way up. Hoo boy, it was not going to be an easy one to pass from this direction. There was no way up around the tree from here; I either had to backtrack and join Ambrose or go through the tree. 
Just a downed log, that’s not bad!

Okay, this one’s bigger and messier…

Um, I can scoot under this one. On my knees.

Yup, that’s the trail. That’s the tree blocking the trail. And, yes, that is the hole I went through to get past it.
I went through, of course. I’m not going to backtrack! 
It was like being birthed by a tree. My pack and hair were full of needles by the time I pushed my way out from between the boughs of the tree. It was my treebirth. 
The tree from whence I came!
I kept thinking we were almost there, and then we weren’t. And I just had to keep walking. I did keep walking. Even though I didn’t want to. 
This downed tree is sized for me – not Ambrose.

Oh why can’t I go through this one? I don’t wanna go around…

We did, of course, reach the trailhead eventually. Not even in that long of a time, actually. Ambrose got there first and directed me to a picnic table while he brought the car in close. The entire site was empty, so we had the place to ourselves. I never did check out the pit toilet there, so I don’t know if it got cleaned up. 
Ah, the last bridge. I did take some time here to make videos of the Queens River to use as Zoom backgrounds, but only because I knew the car was so close.

Everyone else had cleared out by the time we got there.

Ambrose walking over to get the car. 
I didn’t get very sick, for which I’m grateful. But it did make me think more about what risks I’m taking in regards to exposure to Covid-19. I pretty much stopped going to CrossFit after this trip, because I don’t want to risk having a serious illness in the backcountry. I mean, I’m still doing the at home workouts, just not going in to expose myself to 10 other people who are making their own risk assessments that I know nothing about. 
Overall, this trip was quite nice. We haven’t done much over the 4th of July weekend in years past because of the potential for crowds, but I think we just need to choose with care and we’ll be able to find our solitude. 

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