Mileage: 11.83 miles/19 km
Elevation Gain: 3,412 ft/1040 m
The rising this morning was set with a bit of discussion.
When we had come into the park, we had asked about making the Lake Vernon Loop. The recommendation from Ranger was neither Yay nor Nay. Instead he told us a story about two groups the previous week, one group fairly inexperienced and an experienced hiker with snowshoes. Both groups made it out at the same time, but the first group got to pay $4,000-8,000 for an aerial rescue when they got stuck in the snow. The Outdoorsman and I talked, and our agreement was that we would hike until we no longer felt safe. We were up and out by 0730.
This ascent rose much more quickly than yesterday's - it felt like we were hiking much more than doing a day walk with 25 lbs of gear on our back. We quickly traversed the first ridge and then began to make our way over.
As the other hikes, the early morning start means that we were well ahead of any other hikers and thus we were surrounded by silence, sun, and birdsong.
As we started to cross the ridgeline and come down, we met a creek making its way down with us.
We also saw a newt, going about his business: