Despite our best intentions, we didn’t get on the trail untill 10:30. The morning continued the pattern of walking along the side of a ridge with sweeping views. We had some of the mildest temperatures we had hiked with in a couple of weeks and there was a light, cool breeze blowing. Shortly after lunch we met a couple of southbound flip-floppers; it’s always nice to see other hikers.
Mid-afternoon we came across a small lake that was perfect for an afternoon swim. The lake had quite the population of a black-backed, red-bellied salamander. I was able to catch one about 6″ long.
After the lake, we hiked a trail segment with hundreds of wildflowers. There were red Sylvia-like ones, flowers with light-purple petals and yellow button centers, clusters of a bright yellow flower in the shape of a clown nose, and a small white flower scattered throughout.
We camped at Shadow Lake slightly off the trail with dramatic views across another lake filled valley with Marble Mountain in the background. The sun set right behind the mountain and the colors reflected off the clouds were some of the brightest I had seen. With clear skies and no bugs, I decided to sleep out cowboy style.