The alarm was set for 5:30 am, but I think we both woke up before it went off. I knew what was likely coming, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it. Ambrose had actually refused to finish dinner the night before, in addition to almost vomiting. He was sick. Not super sick, but sick enough that going out to Browns Lake would not be a good idea for us. It was not the time to push things, but the time to pull back and ensure we didn’t injure ourselves.

So we changed our plans and turned around. I was whiny about it, but I blame the fact that I kind of forgot about him being sick the night before. The storm clear pushed the memory right out of my head with a surge of adrenaline.

In lieu of the extra hiking to Browns Lake, Ambrose suggested that I hike with him. That way, instead of hiking back super fast to the car and then waiting for him, I’d be hiking a lot longer by going at his speed.

And, oh by the way, I’d be there if he started feeling more ill.

There were a number of freshly fallen trees as we started the hike back.

The tarn near our campsite.

Fallen trees.

This is probably the worst section of the trail that we traversed for downed trees across the trail.

I could tell they were freshly fallen because of the color of the dirt. 

The morning was cloudy, but no rain.

This tree was not a fresh fall. 

The dirt had already gone gray instead of being damp and brown.

Early morning water crossings – not my favorite.

But there were less fallen trees on the other side.

Plenty of water though.

Ambrose in a little meadow.

Okay, there were still some fallen trees…

I attempted (successfully) to cross by climbing up that log angling up the far bank on the left.

Whenever I try to zoom way in on these flowers they get blurry. So pretty!

Almost to the second crossing.

The tiniest of flowers.

I think this one was down on the way up. 

The river looks more wild than it actually was.

 Before we crossed the Little Queens for the second time that morning, Ambrose and I settled down to have some lunch. It was around 11 in the morning, but I figured we could use the calories. And I wanted to have something to eat before braving the water.

As we sat and ate, a large group of hikers came up behind us and got ready to cross. Ambrose chatted with one of the men, who said they had come down from Johnson Lake that day after a trip in which they hiked up to Scenic Lake, then went across country to Browns Lake, then traversed around from Browns Lake to High Pass, then down to Johnson Lake. They were going to go to Pats Lake, but decided against it and visited The Hole (a lake above Johnson) instead.

I took the guy’s rendition at face value, but after they left, Ambrose had some doubts. There were two children in the group, and a dog. He wasn’t sure that they could have come down from Johnson to where we were in the time they had. And he definitely thought that children and dogs would have difficulty with the cross-country going between Scenic and Browns, which would involve a good amount of boulder scrambling. So, who knows what they really did.

Ambrose crossing.

This deer had a tag around her neck; like a collar with a white laminated name tag. We didn’t get a good look at it, but I’ve never seen anything like that before. 

An established go-around for these fallen trees.

Almost back to the car.

Beautiful Little Queens.

More scrambles.

Ambrose spotted this little guy and pointed him out. I couldn’t get the camera out before he ran away, but he ran down that branch, onto another tree, then right back up the branch. Then he posed for me and I took the shot.

Where the Little Queens (upper right) flows into the Queens.

When we got back to the car, I did not, as per my usual custom, rush to the car to take my boots off. Because I wasn’t wearing boots. I was wearing the Altra trail runners, and they did not make my feet feel like they were being squeezed into a vise (a protective vise, but a vise nonetheless). So I took my time getting myself all set to wipe off with facial cleansing wipes and getting changed into clean clothes. There were some other people at the trailhead so I couldn’t take my pants off in the parking area. I walked over to the vault toilet to do that. 

And when I came back, Ambrose informed me that he had just vomited in the grass. 
On that note, I drove us back home. We skipped the traditional post-backpacking trip milkshakes, because by that point I was also feeling a bit sick. Instead, we were looking forward to a nice evening meal of soup broth and Saltines. 

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