Backpacked the loop clockwise from Timberline Lodge July 8-11. Started late afternoon Monday and finished late afternoon Thursday. Camped at Paradise Park, Cairn Basin and Cloud Cap Campground - all great spots. The spigots at Cloud Cap don’t work, but fresh water is available by walking a short way (<1/4 mile) on the trail to Tilley Jane CG. The vault toilet was open.
Trail conditions were very good overall. A few of the river crossings required extra time scouting the best place to cross, but we were aided by cairns marking good spots with logs or rock hops. The water wasn’t more than calf high the couple of times we had to wade across. All could be safely crossed in one way or another, even for me at 5’2”. Eliot Branch had a good log downstream of the trail, although a steep traverse was required to reach it.
Snow fields are melting out fast and the ones remaining were soft enough for good traction in my trail runners. We had to crawl over a few downed trees in the Elk Cove area, but nothing too difficult.
No mosquitoes or biting flies. Not one single bite.
Stunning views and fields full of wildflowers. Couldn’t ask for more.
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