Today we woke up in a dry tent. We were excited because the trail ahead was supposed to be relatively flat, and tomorrow is a day with no hiking.
We packed up our tent quickly and ate our breakfast. I had pop-tarts and a waffle. After a quick stop to fill up our water we were on our way.
We made quick progress and soon met a Ranger. She chatted with us and shared that the Ptarmigan Tunnel was open. It wasn’t a route we were taking on our trip, but many people we had met were, and the alternative when it’s closed adds many miles to your trip. The tunnel had been closed recently because of bear activity along the way. As we finished chatting, she warned us of a grizzly bear a half mile up the trail from us.
Continuing on we talked loudly so we wouldn’t startle the bear. We met a couple after a bit and they said the bear was off a side trail that we had already passed. We wanted to see the bear, but at the same time, we wanted to avoid any interactions with grizzly bears.
A short way up the trail we came to a river crossing. There was no bridge over it and also no stones to cross without getting wet. There was a shallow section with a cable stretching across to hold onto while crossing. Since we had wet feet the last two days we opted to take off our shoes and socks and cross barefoot. It was refreshing on our feet as we waded across. The deepest it got was up to the bottom of my knee. Safely across the river, we continued our hike.
After a while, we arrived at the Lake Elizabeth Foot campsite. We stopped for a quick lunch of trail mix and enjoyed some time with our packs off. We filled up our water on the lake shore and enjoyed the beautiful view.
Once we finished lunch we continued down the trail beside the lake. The trail meandered along the lake — getting close to the shore and away from it multiple times. We were always provided with stunning views of the lake. Once we reached the head of the lake we started to get excited: it was only a 2.6-mile hike to our campsite!
We covered the last several miles quickly, though our bodies were sore and ready to be done. As we got close to our campsite we crossed over a short waterfall with several pools of water beneath it. Soon after the waterfall, we found our campsite close to a beautiful lake.
We set up camp by stowing our food and picking one of the two tent sites. We opted for a more open site as we planned on leaving the rain fly off the tent tonight so we can watch the stars. After setting things up we headed back to the waterfall. We waded into the ice-cold pools beneath the waterfall and soaked our tired and soar muscles in the glacial water. I ventured over to the waterfall and sat in it letting the water pound onto my sore back like a massage of sorts. We messed around in the water for a little while and then headed back to our campsite.
We ate some snacks and then cooked up ramen for dinner. Because of the tall mountain behind the lake, the sun was going to set behind at 6:30. We finished right in time and got into our tent around 6:40. No one else has shown up at the campsite, so we figure that we have it all to ourselves for tonight. We don’t mind, though it is fun to chat with other hikers.
We read our book and then lay there looking up at the sky and chatting. We are tired and sore and ready for a day of hiking nowhere tomorrow.