I knew that the direct approach would likely result in Ambrose hardening his determination not to go up to the lookout, so at no point did I ask him again about going. Instead, I stayed silent on the subject for a while, as we hiked on through the other section I always forget. After the long climb, there’s a pretty forested section. And then there’s another old burn area. 
This burn area isn’t as old as the earlier ridge, so there aren’t many living trees, not even little ones. There are still a lot of old snags standing, but the shade they cast is limited. And the dirt is sandy and rocky, without a whole lot of growing things. I had to stop to dig another hole there. I wanted to wait, but my body wasn’t having that. 
The tarn is just past that last burned area. Whatever fire passed through the area didn’t hit the trees right around the water, so there is shade and camping to be had there. I wasn’t sure we would have been able to find enough room for two tents, but since Bill was not with us, there was no need for that. 
We only glanced at the tarn as we hiked on. I talked to Ambrose about my plans to go up to the lookout today instead of the next day. Because I didn’t want to get up early and backtrack. Because I didn’t believe that I would follow through with backtracking, no matter how good my intentions. Best to get it done while we’re up on the ridge. 
But I never asked him to come with me. 
There was more bear grass blooming as we got closer and closer to the lookout junction. This area was burned not that long ago too, and the trail can get very rocky, but in a good way. Some sections are like rock bridges laid along the dirt. 
Before we reached the last approach to the junction, Ambrose announced that he was hiking up to the lookout with me. I was so happy! I knew he was pushing himself and getting tired, but he was going to make the effort anyway. 
We did agree, however, that we would be leaving our packs at the junction. There’s some level of risk involved with leaving our packs by the side of the trail, but it was a risk we were willing to take to avoid hauling that extra weight up on a side trip. 
We’ve walked by that trail junction 4 times before, and now, finally, we were going to walk up it. And up really is the word. It’s not a long distance, but it’s steep, about 300 feet in a quarter mile. There was even some snow next to the trail close enough for me to grab some and put it under my hat – it was hot! I did bring my at-hand bag and camera so I could take pictures. Pics or it didn’t happen, right? 
Ambrose walked in front, and I took pictures and followed. The lookout wasn’t in view at the junction, but it started to come into view as we got closer. The final approach was all rocks. There were two rock paths, and we took the left one, though it turned out they both led to the same place. 
We were greeted by barking. Two small dogs were running around the balcony of the lookout, alerting the man inside that he had visitors. He emerged and Ambrose and I got to meet Logan, along with his doggies, Loki and Leia. Logan invited us inside, despite the fact that we were stinky backpackers. I guess, out there, everyone and everything gets a bit stinky, so who cares? 
I loved seeing the inside of an actual working fire lookout. It’s a single room that functions as bedroom, office, kitchen, living room and other uses as needed. I saw books, puzzles, and finished models – all things that make sense for a job with such isolation. 
Ambrose sent messages to his family, but I’d left my inReach at the junction, so I just took pictures and chatted with Logan a bit. Before we left, Logan had us sign the guest book. We were the fourth and fifth guests to visit this year. 
I think Logan might have enjoyed it if we had visited a bit longer, but it was getting close to 5pm. We needed to go and make sure our packs were okay, and we also needed to make camp and dinner. Lest we get hangry. 
The hike back down to the junction went quickly. I can’t say I was happy to put the pack back on, but I was glad that it was still there, unmolested. Then it was time to haul ourselves down to the level of the lake, about 500 feet of descent. But it’s pretty good trail. We’ve hiked it before, and a pack train had recently traversed it, clearing most of the deadfall. (The pack train resupplied Logan.)
As we hiked, Ambrose kept a damp towel on his neck. It was a towel he’d found at the Big Creek Campground over the 4th of July. It was in the bushes, hanging by a carabiner. Since no one was at the campground, Ambrose snagged it and he was using it on this trip. 
Unfortunately, putting it on his neck prevented him from being able to use the ‘biner to secure it. And, at some point between when we started down and when we got to the campsite, it fell off. I didn’t notice it fall, and neither of us were in the mood to go back and try and find it. I just hope someone finds it and picks it up. If he does that again, I recommended hooking the ‘biner into a buttonhole on his shirt collar. We’ll see if that works once he gets another towel with a ‘biner attachment. 
We actually walked past the campsite at first; it had been a while since we’d been there. And it really was past time for us to be eating dinner. Plus, we were half expecting to see the three young men from earlier, but we never saw a sign of them. They must have gone on to Fish Lake or cut around to Cutthroat Lake. Or even the unnamed lake between Sheepeater and Cutthroat. After a bit of backtracking, we found the spot that we’d used before. There’s an illegal fire ring there. Or there was – we told the ranger at Big Creek about it, and I won’t be surprised if it’s gone next time I go to Sheepeater Lake. 
Ambrose headed to the lake to get water while I scouted out a tent site. The last time we’d camped here, we were using a Zpacks Duplex, and now we have the Triplex, which is quite a bit wider. I wasn’t sure we’d fit where I pitched before, so I did a bit of exploring. 
Everywhere I looked, the ground was either not flat, or full of logs or not big enough. I wanted to find a better spot, but I ended up back where I started. I just had to squish the Triplex into a very small space, surrounded by fallen logs on two sides, small but living trees on one side and bushes on the fourth. It was a tight fit. 
Ambrose came back with the water and started on the cooking. I wouldn’t have put the tent up before eating dinner, but if I didn’t keep myself occupied, I would have started gnawing on my clothes. Dinner could not be ready fast enough. 
Though, when dinner was finally ready, I ended up taking a break from eating to get my bear rope hung. And while I was away, Ambrose accidentally kicked over my food! Luckily, only a bit of the juice got lost. We usually prepare the dehydrated meals with a bit of extra water, so even my macaroni and cheese had a bit of liquid to spill. 
Sheepeater Ridge is west of where we were camped, which meant the sun disappeared a lot earlier than when we were camped up on the ridge. But it still wasn’t getting very cool. The mosquitos would not quit, so after eating we retreated to the tent. 
In the night sometime, we were both awake. I didn’t hear anything, but I sleep with a buff over my eyes and ears, partly for warmth and partly as a sleep mask. But Ambrose heard something, a scrabbling, chattering noise of some creature messing with the Ursack. He yelled out to scare it off and gave me quite a start since I hadn’t heard the animal. 

I was surprised to fall back asleep so soon after that, but it had been a long day. 
A rare log across the trail.

Not a bit of shade through here.

Getting close to the tarn…

There it is! 

We walked by the tarn.

More paintbrushes and some pretty yellow flowers.

Our packs were tucked just off the trail.

The view down to Sheepeater Lake from the trail to the lookout.

The trail to the lookout was very steep.

Still so far away!

Getting closer!

Absolutely worth the uphill hike. . .

The steps up to the lookout.

Okay, we’re getting there with the selfies.

And Ambrose is getting good at taking pictures of me!
Back to the packs!

We’re going down to that lake.

As long as we don’t fall off the trail.

Is the towel still on Ambrose’s neck?

More yellow flowers.

A teeny tiny campsite.

We cooked near the fire ring, but did not light a fire, because that’s illegal at this location.

Ambrose had a filtering system set up in a tree.

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