Armed against the morning cold with jackets, gloves, and hats, we headed down the trail. Once through the lava flow, huckleberry bushes lined the trail, loaded with ripe, sweet, blackish purple berries. My pace slowed considerably as I stopped to pluck the tasty fruit.
In the afternoon, the trail began to climb. We reached a small snow patch near the creek and, predictably, a large snowball exploded on my back. We crossed another snow patch when we reached the crest saddle, and again at Cispus Pass (6,460 ft). Now above treeline in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, the wildflowers were incredible: purple and white lupine, paintbrush, daisies, monkey flowers, pasqueflowers, and more.
We camped on a grassy knoll perched between two pure, snowmelt creeks, sharing a site with Tour Divide rider Cjell Money (PCT '09) and Robin, a couple we had met earlier that day.