Breakfast was a rehydrated creme brulee. Ambrose was saving it for the last day as a treat but I was losing my enthusiasm for this particular dessert breakfast. It was just too creamy, too sweet for first thing in the morning. Still, I needed the calories to get me through the day so I chowed down.

Good morning camp!

And then I rolled into the routine of packing and preparing to leave the campsite. I’m the one that carries the tent so I can’t ever finish packing until the tent is struck. Ambrose, on the other hand can finish packing as soon as I had him his sleeping pad that I am nice enough to roll up for him.

The sun’s not very high yet.

We got everything ready to go but our boots. Since we had to cross the Queens River right away, we would put our boots on on the other side.

First part of the crossing.

We left camp around 7 and braved the icy morning waters of the river. This crossing is the most complex one on the loop, requiring a midstream climb onto a grassy island and then a second crossing of very deep water that, thankfully, has a very sluggish current.

On the grassy island.

I took a shallower route than Ambrose did because crotch high water on him would be pack wetting on me.

A little too deep for my tastes.

Then we booted up and parted ways. I had to stop pretty soon after that though because there were huckleberries along the trail I wanted to take pictures of. Sadly, I couldn’t eat them, because they were green.

Green huckleberries. Tragic!

I didn’t take the time to drink from my water bladder and I hardly took the time to take pictures. I was in go mode and I didn’t want to pause any more than necessary. I passed the place where I fell and hit my knees without falling again and I chose a different route over a particularly high log than I had last time, all the while maintaining safe and careful speed.

Chasing the sunrise in the early part of the day.

By the time I decided to start drinking, I discovered my bite valve had fallen off. Rather than turn back and try to figure out where it slipped off I hoped Ambrose would pick it up and that if he didn’t my good deeds of packing out other trash would balance the transgression of leaving the valve behind.

Making good progress through flowers and trees.

I watched the sun crest the ridge and paint the meadows I crossed with golden color. I found a bandanna at a stream and decided to pack it out – after I finally wet my own buff to cool my head.

Here comes the sun.

The next river crossing was boots off, no question about it. I set about the task as fast as I could. I was hoping to get back to the car before noon or even before eleven. The closer to 4 hours the better. While I hiked the small section to the next crossing, I thought about whether I’d go boots off again. I didn’t want to.

My favorite flower in bloom.

The burned area has become so much greener. 

Abundant flowers. 

And when I arrived at the crossing,I decided to try something different. Instead of boots off through that fresh dirt, I would attempt a log crossing.

Even more flowers! 

Perhaps fleabane. Definitely pretty.

The rockslide that surprised me on my solo trip two years ago has also grown a lot of greenery.

Log crossing?

There were two logs close to the crossing that might suit my purpose. Both were recently fallen but one, the narrower one, had fewer branches sticking out which would allow me to hump across instead of trying to walk it.

Crawling on that log may have cost me more time than doing the good old boots off would have, but I did it and without getting the insides of my boots wet. Though there were some nervous points. I put my trekking poles in my pack side pocket while straddling the log and at first tried to stay upright as I scooted across. But the log was too close to the water so I had to lean forward and hook my feet up behind to keep them out of the water. When I reached the far side, I had to use the tree’s roots to help me stand and then clamber over them to reach the bank. Once there, I needed to get to firm ground so I walked a bit downstream and then up the far bank and over to the trail again where I took a moment to snack.

Sure. Totally crossable.
The roots took my weight.
The embankment, on the other hand, slid under my feet. A hard scramble up across and up. 

After that, I redeployed my trekking poles only to discover that one of the tips had snapped. At the time I thought it was just the replaceable metal tip, but it was a good two inches more than that. I continued to use it that day but got rid of it when we got home.

I knew a couple tough downed trees were coming up so I didn’t go too fast at first. Once I passed those two puzzles, without rebanging my knees I’m happy to report, I started to increase my speed.

Looking back at the crossing I skipped and the fallen tree that now obscures the path.

From that point on I was racing the clock. I wanted so badly to arrive before eleven and I needed to haul tail to do it. I hardly took pictures, especially after I passed the last trail junction. I was all go.

Fireweed, I think.

For a while, I thought I would make it. I was moving at a high rate of speed and I was almost there.

Except I wasn’t.

Just a couple more hours of walking. 

The trail had tricked me. I had not one more stream to cross but three. Not one more meadow to pass but two. I pushed and pushed my pace as hard as I could without actually running. It wasn’t enough to beat eleven am.

Is this the last wooded section? No. 

Is this the last grassy area? No. 

But I did arrive before noon. Well before in fact. And I drove the car to the campsite near the bathroom and settled in to wait for Ambrose to get his slow and steady self to the trail head.

I made it! 

He made it only ten minutes later than I had estimated. Not bad. I had eaten snacks, finished the water in my bladder, written my words for the day and taken a cleansing dip in the river before he got there so I was ready to start the drive home as soon as he changed clothes and got in the passenger seat.

Ambrose made it!

One Reply to “Lake Everly July 2016 – Day 5”

  • Hi JB,
    I don't know a better way to contact you than posting a comment here. Really enjoyed reading about your hike and the corresponding photos. My dad went missing we presume along a similar route returning to the Queens River Trailhead from Plummer Lake area late June this summer. You mentioned in one of your posts that you try to pack out any trash you find including a bandana. Perhaps you are willing to share your findings with me to see if anything could have belonged to my dad? We found a large, repeatedly used ziploc bag placed under a rock on a boulder at Plummer Lake we thought could be my dad's bag. As well as a used espresso flavored Clif Shot Energy Gel pack on the route. Do any of those items ring a bell as yours or your hiking partner's? The littlest details could help in our search. Thank you for your time. If you'd like to respond, my email is

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