Quite a fungus!

Time to walk on the rocky jeep road .

I combined a picture focused on the distant sun-kissed mountains with one focused on the road and trees to get this composite picture. 

This time, Ambrose and I were going to take the Smith Creek Cutoff Trail – like we should have last year. 

It started off on an easy descent, and the dirt was a relief to my feet.

But it wasn’t very well maintained.

We encountered a good amount of deadfall.

Nothing sadder than seeing green huckleberries 🙁

Some of the fallen trees were more difficult than others.

Ambrose cut a switchback to avoid this tangle. I probably should have, too.
It was right before our snack break.

The trail started getting serious about the switchbacks. 

And another one.

A little more deadfall.

More switchbacking.

This was the worst one. It seemed pretty fresh, and we had to force our way through branches still green with needles.

Ambrose pushing his way through the tangle.

Right on the other side of that fall was an old, falling apart cabin of sorts.

The walls were so short, I was able to get a shot of the interior.

Back to flats – we had to be close to the road again now.

Hitching posts near the road.

The sign for the cutoff trail from the road.

Ambrose made it to the road!

I don’t remember the road being this damp last year.

More rotting structures along the road.

There is a kind of beauty to nature reclaiming what man made.

I knew we were close after passing this off-shoot road.

The sun was starting to break through the trees.

I kept watching for the ridgeline fall that pointed to the car.

This cabin looked in slightly better repair, but I doubt anyone lives there.

There’s the turn! We started from here!

And the car. At last!

This trip, I got dirty.

The inside of the public area of the ranger station at Big Creek.

The Big Creek Lodge construction was proceeding apace.

When we drove over Profile Gap, we saw a fire on a nearby ridge. 

We actually got to watch a helicopter drop a load of water on it.

It was hard to capture the glowing orange embers we could see with our eyes. We were lucky to get out when we did; the road closed the next day because of the fire.

We camped and spent the night at Yellow Pine before driving home the next day.

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