The entire hike was about seven miles (three and a half in and the same back out). Seven miles doesn't seem so long, except that we also climbed almost twelve hundred feet, which meant that parts of the hike was switchbacks that were pretty steep. Luckily these were at the very beginning but it did leave me a little panicky thinking "what if this is what the whole hike is like... I can't do this!").
(Renee, Tater and I on the way back down the path)
There were several beautiful meadows along the climb and two beautiful lakes (we ate lunch sitting and looking over the second). Unfortunately when we got to the top lake it began to lightly sprinkle and we then heard thunder. The top of a big hill (or anywhere on a mountain) is not where you want to be when there is a thunderstorm (as we passed many trees along the way that were obviously scorched with lightning). Tater was also not pleased with the thunder. So we headed back down the trail at what would have been a quick pace if Tater wasn't tuckered. There was even a small stretch where I had to pick him up and carry him because he just didn't want to walk any more. I think we may have to work him up to long hikes like that (and me too, as my legs are pretty sore today!).
We didn't see much wild life (probably because there were four of us, all talking, and a dog). However we did see some chipmunks and the work of lots of animals (see below). The most amazing part to me was that on the entire hike we only came in contact with one other group of hikers (three women and their two dogs). And this is Labor Day weekend on a trail that is advertised in published books. It just shows how remote the landscape that we are living in is!