Distance hiked today: 18.4 miles / 29.6 km.
This morning all the wildlife was out and about, starting with a crazy marmot drive-by. As I hiked up the trail I saw a huge marmot sitting only a few feet away - the biggest I've ever seen, almost like a beaver. It took off, running through the bushes and straight towards Colin. We weren't sure if it was going for him or if it hadn't seen him and was just running away from me, but it barreled by only inches from Colin's feet as he jumped out of the way. Definitely the craziest marmot encounter so far.
We saw about 6 deer wandering through a meadow, and lots of squirrels and chipmunks.
The trail was basically uphill all day as we head to higher elevation, more tiring than the usual up and down of the desert. The ground is very sandy, with only big trees, very little undergrowth, and no grass. It's interesting, very different from our rocky mountains that are green and thick with growth. It's nice to see the trail this time rather than snow banks, and we recognize streams that were raging rivers before, now barely a trickle.
We camped behind a large boulder, with a good sitting log next to it to have dinner.
Total trail mileage: 739.3 miles / 1189.5 km