Marsh Lake to Fox Meadow
(10 miles, +900/-3,500 feet).
I finally slept well last night. I was still having flashbacks to my nearly-fatal river crossing, but it only took about an hour to mellow out and drift away.
I was up before dawn with Ultrashuffle, sitting by the fire and making coffee.
Finder found a nice spot to see the sunset last night, so we decided to follow her there to start our hike today.
As it turns out, Finder’s view was pretty sweet. We could see all around the valley.
From there, we headed around a second lake next to Marsh Lake and then back over to the river crossing we found yesterday.
From there, we went cross country until we joined the trail where it crossed back over the river to our side.
We originally thought about heading up to Lost Keys Lakes to check them out, but instead we decided to leave the trail near point 9173 to get one last view of the valley.
Near Sharktooth Creek we hit a set of switchbacks that took us down 1000 feet. Blowdowns were everywhere and water filled the trail.
As I feared, Sharktooth Creek looked too deep and fast to cross.
The ravine was pretty choked with vegetation, so looking for a log would be problematic. Instead we headed cross country down towards Iva Bell Hot Springs.
There was one steep part towards the end of the cross country, but we managed it without (major) problems.
This time, when we passed the hot springs they looked much more appealing. Or maybe we just finally smelled bad enough to give them a try. I got in first and tried to skim as much algae out as possible. And soon we were all in the murky but pleasantly warm pool. It was deluxe!
The rest of the trip back to Fox Meadow was uneventful. We followed the trail down, down, down, past all the lovely sights we passed three days ago.
Ultrashuffle remembered a campsite near Fox Meadow and he led us straight there. The river was really loud there, but the site was flat and mostly bug free.
We enjoyed the fire, ate dinner, and drifted to our tents as the sun slowly set. A perfect ending to a lovely day.