Hurrying down the trail, we quickly reached the PCT crossing of Highway 3 at Scott's Summit (5,401 ft). Then we climbed several miles into the Trinity Alps Wilderness, continuing to climb on a rocky ridge. Mixed into the rocks was a rainbow of wildflowers: yellow lupine, red paintbrush, purple and white phlox, and many others.
Later in the afternoon, the trail led us to a lush green meadow dotted with tiny yellow flowers. The meadow was fringed with pine trees, and tall gray mountains towered in the distance behind them. A spring trickled through the far side of the meadow, lined with bright green pitcher plants, orange tiger lilies, and other wildflowers.
The trail continued to roll along the ridgetops. We passed several creeks lined with alders and brightly colored wildflowers. Next to the trail we also noticed numerous green pinecones, gnawed to the core by hungry squirrels.
My father met us at the trailhead (6,160 ft), and the three of us headed to a nearby campground for the night. Although the campground appeared deserted, we were not alone. I lay awake at night, listening to the sounds of our neighbors: the rhythmic clicking of deer hooves on the rocky ground, the steady munching and crunching as they grazed, and the occasional scuffling as they jockeyed for position. Eventually they settled down, and I went to sleep.