It was much less stressful today as we had only 18 miles to cover and just one pass to climb, Pinchot Pass. I am always amazed at how the altitude changes don't seem to impact the horses more, because I certainly feel it. Once we start to get to 10,000 feet or so, my legs feel like lead, and if I am walking with the horses, I definitely become the slow part of the train. Usually I ride uphill and walk downhill, in part to avoid putting excess weight and pressure on Shyla's withers, which are naturally high and prone to getting sore if the saddle presses on them too much. But nowhere do I appreciate this arrangment more than here, where I would struggle if the situation were reversed and I had to hike up the mountain instead of down.
More lakes greeted us along the way--beautiful sparkling pools of blue.
There often seems to be the sound of water everywhere, in rushing creeks and waterfalls. The landscape might be austere, but it is full of vitality too.
Eventually at the end of the day we camped along a river where there wasn't much grazing, this time due to the altitude. But hopefully tomorrow we will have a nice meadow to look forward to.