We didn’t get up super early, but neither did we sleep in. The morning was cold, and that always encourages me to get moving as fast as I can – once I manage to drag myself out of the warm cocoon of sleeping bag. We were off before the sun rose above the ridge, so I hiked out ahead to stay warm.

At one point, high above the river, I thought I heard something on the trail behind me. When I stopped to see if Ambrose had caught up, there was no one there. I strained to see if there were any animals in the brush, but I didn’t see any. Feeling thoroughly paranoid, I kept hiking a bit more slowly.

I was a little worried about a possible bear encounter as I waited at the junction for Ambrose to catch up. Plus the sun still wasn’t hitting my position so it was cold.

He got there safe and sound and hadn’t seen any signs of bears, so we kept on hiking after he had a chance for a break. We headed down the switchbacks, where I quickly got ahead of him again. Mostly because I was chasing the sun. Now that it was all downhill, it was harder to get warm with exertion.

I made it to Leggit Creek and sat on a log to wait for Ambrose to arrive so we could cross together. I used the time to eat a snack so I wouldn’t get too cold. We crossed and soon made it out of the wilderness.

When we got to the rocky washed out section, I saw something I’ve never seen. Two hikers were approaching us along with a pair of dogs yoked to a wagon. The dogs were big and fluffy, sled dog type dogs, and looked pretty happy. One of the men asked me where they were and I pulled out my topographic map and showed him and advised him which way to go at the next junction. They were going to Heart Lake.

I passed several more people as we got closer to Atlanta. One pair, a guy and a woman, asked if I’d had a hard hike and I explained it was my sixth day on the trail. There was an older man carrying a camera with one of those large zoom lenses who was going to hike off trail. And I started to smell (or imagine) roast pig, which I knew to be a part of the Atlanta Days festival going on.

I waited for Ambrose to catch up so that we could get back to the trailhead together. I really wanted to get to the nearest bathroom, but when we reached it I saw someone enter it. Six days on the trail, and the bathroom was occupied…

We hiked on the road to find the next unoccupied bathroom rather than waiting for that one to free up. The campsites, mostly empty when we hiked out, were now bustling and full, but we found one eventually.

When we got back to the car, Ambrose was looking forward to eating at the restaurant in Atlanta. I didn’t want to patronize them because of their sign, so I endured Ambrose being hangry and rather mean for the several hours of driving to Idaho City where we had lunch and got milkshakes. Once he got some food in him, he was much better company.

Goodbye, campsite!

Good morning, Ambrose!

No sunshine for me.

And yet more sunshine.

I thought there might be a bear somewhere near here.

Heading down towards the sun.

Sharp switchbacks.

A little wilderness bridge over the bog.

This is where we camped the first night.

I sat on this log to wait for Ambrose to catch up. 
I spent time admiring the flow of the water.

Almost out of the wilderness.

Ambrose made it out of the wilderness!

A good place to water up horse, I bet.

I didn’t remember this part being so rocky.

Right around here we ran into the guys with the dog wagon.

We knew to go straight across the rocks this time.

Getting closer to Atlanta.

Time to climb up.

The spur trail to the road – and the occupied bathroom.

Out, safe and sound. 

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