I was glad that my sleeping pad was holding up. On the night we spent up at the unnamed alpine lake, I noticed that my sleeping pad felt quite a bit less firm in the morning than it had in the evening. So the next day, when we were set up near the horse camp, I examined my sleeping pad. When I blew it all the way full, and then put weight on it, I could hear the faintest hiss. I tracked down the hiss to a tiny little hole near a seam. 

Well, this was exciting. I finally got to get out my sleeping pad’s hole repair kit. I took out the small tube of glue and the patches and I read all the instructions – twice. Then I prepared the pad, and marked the hole with a pen so I’d know just where the hole was. 
And then, I unsealed the glue tube, popped open the hole and squeezed with all my might. 
The glue, kind of, sort of came out. 
But it was all in one blob, and not tacky in the least. My poor glue, unused for too long, had set inside the tube. I ended up doing a repair with dyneema tape instead, which held up for the last nights of our trip. 
There’s always some bittersweet feelings about the end of a trip, but I think this one maybe had more than most. Sure, we were dirty and tired and sore, but the pace had really been easy so we could have hiked around a lot more. Ambrose was feeling better, and both our packs were so nice and light from the lack of food… okay, so we weren’t prepared to realistically stay out longer, but I wished we could have just spent more time. 
But that wasn’t the plan. The plan was get home today so I could go to CrossFit the next day (Sunday) and make commitment crew for August. So we got up – stretched – and started on the last leg of our long journey.

Heading out in the early morning in an attempt to get back to the car before noon. 
That’s Ambrose – he left the campsite before me, but I always catch him.

Not time to cross the Queens River yet – thank goodness, with the early morning chill.

Got to watch my footing on these rocky, narrow sections.

The sun is coming, but it ain’t here yet.

I love when the trail goes through tall plants. It feels like more of an adventure.

There were still a good number of downed trees across the trail.

More tiny flowers.

Oh, what a delightful ripe thimbleberry. Yes, I ate it.

Looks like the river has still abandoned this bed.

I’m glad there are some cairns built up, even though I know the general direction of the trail.

Ambrose crossing the Queens River. 

With today being the last day, I was going to just cross in my shoes, so I waited for Ambrose to be ready to hike on. That way, I wouldn’t be waiting around with wet, cold socks and shoes until he was ready to move.

I waited next to this lovely flower. It reminds me of a snap dragon, but those have a different flower distribution.

More tree problems to navigate.

And yet more…

But I was glad to see this particular one had been cleared – it was really hard to get around on either side.

I’m still blown away by how those large rocks are stuck in the root and dirt matrix.

I went ahead and crossed first this time, even though I was planning to wait on Ambrose to cross and get his shoes back on. See, this time, there was sunshine to wait in.

Freezing feet!

A very large tree had been cut here. In the upper left hand corner of this photo is the edge of the log featured in the next photo.

Having now done some work with a crosscut saw, I’m a bit in awe of the job they did on this log. They must have weighted this end down while cutting.

What a shiny, shiny beetle!

The tree problems will never end.

I stayed with Ambrose until the trail went up on the ridge, because the marshy part can get confusing.

I didn’t want him to have an excuse to slow down and delay getting to the car.

I went a bit faster once I was on my own, but not a whole lot. I wasn’t trying to run, just make it with enough time to rest before I had to make the drive home.

Of course there were more trees down.

I was counting streams to mark my way back.

I thought for a moment that this log crossing was gone, but it’s just hiding in the tall grass.

More flowers.

More trees across the trail.

This one is quite the mess.

Almost there; just a couple more stream crossings.

I had to step carefully through here to avoid getting my socks wet – I had put on dry socks after the last crossing.

Some nice definition on this flower’s veins.

I passed some day-walkers on their way out. I didn’t ask them how far we were from the trailhead, but I thought about it.

Oh, here we go!

Celebratory selfie!

Clover close-up.

The bridge out of the wilderness…

When I got back to the trailhead, I had enough energy to chat with a couple of guys who had come in on ATVs and were studying the map. I told them a bit about the area and gave them an idea of elevations, which the trailhead board map doesn’t really show. We were still talking when Ambrose walked up and did some chatting himself. 

Then I made Ambrose some ramen noodles so he would be a happy camper while I drove us to Idaho City for milk shakes. We both cleaned up a bit with wipes and changed into clean-ish clothing. Then it was time to head out.

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