Active Ingredients: Ciprofloxacin
It never did rain on us though.
And there were no mosquitoes all day long. But as before, after dark the mosquitoes came out, so we had to put up the tents and hide inside. I must have had forty on my screen door!
Our plan was to descend the west fork of Gardiner Creek, to the big lake just above where it joins the east fork.
We did not see signs of the trail often, so we just wandered down from one lake to the next, crossing and re-crossing the stream and dropping steadily. We had to negotiate downed trees, brushy places, and swampy spots more and more as we descended.
We finally had to cross a shallow arm of a lake. I waded across with my boots on, getting them thoroughly soaked, while Roy and Eva changed into their sandals.
We were being harassed by mosquitoes when we stopped, so we kept moving pretty steadily. I was growing increasingly concerned that we find the trail, because the guidebook warns of an "incredibly steep" descent beyond the big lake, and I wanted to find the trail for this descent.
So I was greatly relieved to find unmistakable signs of the trail starting its descent. Five minutes later was the lake, and for the first time, no mosquitoes.
We found a wonderful campsite, with great views of the lake, rocks piled into tables and chairs, and good clear spots to sleep.
I noticed, like at lakes further up the canyon, that the obvious bear-hanging trees had lots of claw marks.
I am surprised that there are enough visitors to attract bears. In any case, we hung our food in one of the clawed-up trees and never saw any bears. We are there.
I think Roy and Eva achieved this several days ago, but it always takes me a long time to slow down and adopt the pace of the trail. Roy put up his hammock, and I lounged in it for a couple of hours, just observing the changes in the lake and surroundings as the sun moved across the sky.
Each day the clouds seem to form a little earlier and get a little thicker. We began hiking down the canyon wall toward the main fork of Gardiner Creek.
It was exceptionally steep, but not rocky or obstructed by cliffs, and we kept sight of a rudimentary trail the whole way down. At the bottom, we had a much harder time finding the trail.
It was marked by little piles of rocks here and there, but these did not seem to follow a better route than any other, and we kept losing track of them.
We had been warned that cliffs in the canyon floor would block our way, and that we should look for an opportunity to climb part way up the canyon wall to bypass the cliffs. This part of the canyon, like so many other canyons in the Sierra, has a profile, looking up and down the canyon, like a series of stair steps.