With the power of additional snacks (and maybe a cold weather trick or two), I did manage to get back to sleep this time after waking up cold, so that was nice. But it was still pretty cold in the morning, and I wanted to do my normal thing when I’m headed home, i.e. pack up and head out, eating as I hike. Instead, I went and ate breakfast with the group, only starting to pack up when the group that wanted to keep working started heading across the meadow. 

I got packed up in short order and my group of three left camp around 9:15 in the morning. 

What a joy it is to walk back along trail that you have just cleared! No logs to step over, because WE cut them! 

I took photos of my companions at pieces of work they were particularly proud of as we hiked along. 

Another cold morning.

Brave souls heading out for more work.

What a gorgeous section of trail!

Lovely little check dam.

Colors of autumn beginning to pop.

When I let them know how much of a descent it would have been to get to Caton Lake, they were both really happy to have decided to hike out rather than stay longer. It was kind of funny that the two women who really wanted to do more work were also the ones who had gotten rides, and therefore would not need to drive themselves home. 

It was nice to have some small group time. When I was hiking in the large group (I know 8 isn’t that large, but it’s larger than 3), I would have trouble following conversations because there might be multiple that I could hear. With just 3, I was able to talk and hear more easily. 

Plus, one of my companions was also on a quest to section hike the Idaho Centennial Trail, so we got to talking about that quite a bit. 

The trail we were hiking was actually along the ICT, but not the one that I’m hiking. The ICT has diversions around the wilderness areas so that one could theoretically bike the whole thing by taking the East and West diversions. But when we hiked out, there were no signs to indicate that we were on the ICT. 

On the way back, magically, there were!

What a water bar!

Already back to the junction.

That ICT sign was NOT here when we came up.

A little hazy, but not bad at all.

Another ICT sign!

Hello, Trailhead!

It was nearly 1 pm by the time we got to the trailhead. I moved my car so that one of my fellows could leave once she was ready instead of waiting on me. She ended up leaving first, while I left last. 

I had to record my ditties so I wouldn’t forget them.

Though traffic wasn’t all that bad driving down 55, I was so glad that I left when I did, because I still didn’t make it home until after 5 pm. Since I go to bed on work nights at 8 pm, that was plenty late. I never did find out when the other group made it home, but I would be surprised if they got home before 7. And if they did, it was only because the slow hikers left first 😉

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