We got an early start on day 4 as we decided to try to make it to Camp Lake so our day 5 was really easy. Here are views from Gem Lake before we left.
We knew that we had some downhill ahead of us but had to climb back up a few sections as well before reaching Camp Lake. This is the exception on the trail where the terrain is flat.
I grabbed more random shots on the way back as we had already covered this section once before.
Not much left of this blackened tree.
There is this huge rock you pass by that is cracked in 3 enormous pieces. I had to stand back to just get some of the rock in the picture. In person you can really see why it is so impressive.
I am not sure what made this mucky looking pond so dirty. It looked almost like mud but it was water, I think?.
There is a short section covered in ferns, so don't think the whole trail is dry!
We saw this green snake that was very slow moving. We had plenty of time to take its picture. Leo and I saw a gopher snake that jumped across the trail on our day hike the day before. This would not be the last snake we saw on this trip. Not sure what kind of snake this was. We though maybe it was molting or hurt since it was moving so slowly.
These rocks just looked cool the way the pop up out of the surrounding terrain.
We ended up making it back to Camp Lake. We had enough time to setup camp and take a swim here. The water was nice and we saw a few day hikers. Leo was nice enough to give one group directions to Bear Lake.
We filtered water and swam. When we were drying off we saw this guy cruise by. Not sure you would see him if you were in the water as only his head stays above the water while he swims.
Here is camp some distance up above Camp Lake.
Here is Leo's hammock and laundry drying.
We goofed around the granite behind camp that evening until dark.
This guy was my favorite!
I took this shot our last morning at breakfast. If you look close you can see these guys eating the oatmeal out of the packets. If you are really careful you can mix and eat your oatmeal in the packet (no dishes). You do risk burning yourself to save some dishes, but we are camping out here in the wild so we live on the edge ;-) On a serious note, be sure to have a spot to set your oatmeal packet after mixing because it will be too hot to hold (initially) and you don't want to have it tip over. A sierra cup works good or a notch in a log.
The weather was changing a bit today with some clouds in the distance. Nothing threatening but it was much different than the blue we were used to..
I figured I should take one shot of myself on this trip. This shot was the morning at Camp Lake.
Here we are packing up for the short 2.5 miles to the car.
Goodbye Camp Lake. There was a group that came in late that was swimming without anything on this morning. Not in the shot, thank goodness.
Some trees are simply amazing out here. How some trees manage to grow right on the granite is unbelievable.
One of the more covered sections of trail. It being Friday now there were quite a few people headed in. There was one group of senior backpackers that looked like they were going in ultralight. Another group of backpackers let us know the mule train headed in was their supplies. Normally I would say that is cheating but since they are my elders I think it is perfectly OK. I might even have to remember that when I am their age.. When the mule train did pass us it was pretty dusty. The cowboys in charge apologized for the dust at least.
Pine Valley in the distance.
Getting close now. This was a great trip and this area has so much to explore. There are lots of loop options and your only real concerns should be water sources and how many miles you can realistically cover each day. I am sure we will be out here again as there are still many lakes I would like to see out here.