Monarch Lake to Sawtooth Trailhead
(4.5 miles, +0/-2,600 feet).
Last night, Nick, Meredith, and I found a nice open flat area to set up our tents with a view of the lake. When I woke up this morning I heard some scuffling and leaned over to look out of my tent.
Peering into the early morning pre-dawn, I saw a mother deer and her baby making their way between our tents. The scuffle had also awoken Nick, who saw them too. What an amazing way to start our last day!
We packed up and got started on our 3000 foot descent. The trail winds through large rock fields, some of which were created by mining done over a century ago. I took several pictures of the trees that are growing in this incredible landscape.
Soon we were back at the trailhead, where we found our car marmot free. But in setting up the tarp, we discovered that one of the doors had not closed all the way and a left-on light meant the battery was dead! Fortunately, a nice group of hikers gave us a jump and then we made our way to Silver City Resort to shower for the ride home.
Storms rolled in on the drive out, and we actually saw lightning hit a tree on a high ridge. A few seconds later a puff of smoke billowed above the tree, which apparently caught flame even though it was raining. We were glad we were safe and warm and dry.
The drive back to San Diego was eerie, with lightning strikes and storms the whole day, even in Los Angeles where it never rains in July. We put Sigur Rós on the radio to give the scene a soundtrack. It was such a wonderful contrast to the beautiful weather we had during the hike!