Overnight, the wind shifted yet again and the morning dawned not nearly as smoky as it had been the day before. Not completely clear but clear enough for some views of scenery on the way out. After breakfast, we headed directly down 7.1 miles to the pick-up point at the Robinson Creek Trailhead at Twin Lakes. All the other hikers, apparently being more spry, did a detour (uphill!) to Peeler Lake. While they were tromping around in the woods, we got to sit in chairs, drink cold beer, and play catch with Jethro the Wonder Dog. Seemed like a fair trade at the end of an especially adventurous and dramatic trip. 🙂
The question arises: Given all the drama, would we do a trip like this again? Probably yes. Despite the smoke and the other travails, it was an enjoyable trip with an excellent group of other hikers and very personable packers. While hiking with mules is more strenuous than rafting, it does allow you to visit remote, backcountry areas for several days without having to carry a backpack laden with camping gear and food. So we might try a similar trip with another pack station or with this one – we’ll have to see what happens next year. If we were to go with Rock Creek again – and they don’t change their no sat phone and no filtered water (we had chlorine tabs) policies, we’ll be sure to come completely equipped to handle these tasks on our own.