We had a cold morning, and the only way to fix that with the way we backpack is to get moving. So we got moving before the sun crested the ridges we were nestled between. The start of our day was going to involve a lot of switchback climbing and several more crossings of the Middle Fork, though only one might require the removal of boots.

I had a deep cold that I couldn’t shake, so my goal was to climb fast and get to the sun as soon as possible. I did hang back to make sure Ambrose took the right fork at the junction where we had a choice to go up Flytrip Creek or Spangle, but then I zoomed off to try and warm up with the climb.

Well, until I hit the next crossing. It was a rock hop, but I still waited for Ambrose to catch up because we do safety like that. And while I’d hiked this trail before, he hadn’t. So the best thing to do was cross together.

Then I zoomed off again until I reached the first little saddle and sunshine. I waited for Ambrose to catch up there just so I wouldn’t be very far ahead of him when it was break time. Plus, there was sunshine and a nice log to sit on.

I kept going when he caught up and climbed a little bit more before it was break time and we paused for some snacking and enjoying the view. Only about five minutes farther on, there was an absolutely gorgeous overlook of the valley we had hiked through the day before. It would have been an ideal spot for a break, but of course, we’d just taken one. I did wait for Ambrose to catch up so I could show it to him, but we didn’t stop.

We had some more switchbacks to climb, though they were interspersed with longer stretches of trail that followed the river’s canyon up. I waited for Ambrose just after the next sidestream crossing, which was a hop-over. The next crossing of the Middle Fork was one that I’d done boots off back in 2016, but that was late in the afternoon when I was hot and the water felt nice. This was early morning, with the sun now hidden by clouds. So while I waited for Ambrose to catch up, I found an alternate path that allowed us to cross on some partially submerged logs.

We took a short break after that crossing. Then we ran into another couple and chatted for a bit – I asked about their packs, because they looked light weight and I was looking to get a lighter weight pack. Then it started snowing and we went our separate ways. I got my pack cover on while Ambrose went ahead and caught a glimpse of an elk.

A little more climbing and we came to a nice flat spot where I stopped and waited for Ambrose to catch up so I could show him Little Spangle Lake, which is easy to miss if you aren’t looking. Then we reached Spangle Lake, as gorgeous as I remembered. The snow stopped, but the wind was still chill and fierce. We hunted for a camping spot and eventually settled on the ridge between the two lakes, above the trail where we were hardly visible.

I got the tent set up so I could huddle inside it to warm up. Ambrose went and got water. We ate lunch and spent the rest of the day hanging out and enjoying the lake. In the late afternoon, I was in the tent thinking about napping, and I heard noises. I thought Ambrose was calling for me, so I yelled out to ask what he was doing.

He didn’t answer, but I kept hearing noises. So I stuck my head out of the tent to take a look, without putting my glasses back on, and was rewarded with the sight of a deer loudly licking the dirt where I had earlier relieved my bladder…

Ambrose ready to hike out.

Flytrip Creek Junction.

There were a number of blowdowns to navigate.

Ambrose crossing the Middle Fork again.

Morning switchbacks.

Heading up the canyon.

Gorgeous little overlook…

With a stunning view.

I could camp here – but it would be a dry camp.

Nice little side stream.

One tree, blocking the trail at two different spots thanks to a switchback.

It looks like a boots off crossing from here. 

But there were logs and tufts of grass to use instead.

Almost there!

Little Spangle Lake, from the ICT.

Spangle Lake Junction.

Spangle Lake.

The trail still dips below the level of the water to cross the outlet. 

A deer!

The deer got so close to our tent.

Little Spangle Lake from another angle.

I did about a quarter of a circumnavigation of Little Spangle Lake. Maybe a third.

It had a lot of interesting areas, possibly good for future camping spots.

But this spot was pretty nice.

Alpenglow on Glens Peak.

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