We continued through through a young forest, replanted with Jeffrey pine, white and red fir after the old growth trees were selectively logged. Through the trees we caught a glimpse of Jackson Meadows Reservoir (6,200 ft), so perfectly reflecting the surrounding trees in its still waters that it was difficult to see where the water ended and the forest began.
The trail continued to meander through the forest, taking a series of seemingly pointless ups and downs. Just before lunch we started the descent to Milton Creek, passing by a cluster of flowers covered with brightly colored orange and black butterflies.
Heat radiated from the rocky, volcanic trail, increasing in intensity with every switchback. We ate lunch under the shade of a tall incense cedar, then continued to descend into a mixed forest of incense cedar, fir, and pine.
We joined Shutterbug, North Star, Wildflower, and Nips. Hiking as a group, the final miles to Highway 49 near Sierra City (4,570 ft) flew by. Lots of other hikers were in town, and we watched many reunions on the small porch of the general store.
We completed all our town chores, and enjoyed a delicious meal at the Meadow Creek restaurant in Sierra City. Then it was off to bed. We will be continuing down the trail tomorrow.