Today was characterized by many creek crossings, two of which we crossed "twice and then again." The reason I put that in quotes is because this is how the guidebook describes the creeks we crossed three times.
The first creek of the day was Matterhorn Creek, which really sounds more intimidating than it was. After that crossing, we climbed up along Wilson Creek which we crossed thrice, all of which were easy.
Following Wilson Creek we continued to ascend up and over Benson Pass at 10,200'. Following the pass we made our way through the snow past Smedberg Lake and to it's outlet. We were following footprints and shouldn't have gone to the outlet, but rather around and down where the rocks weren't so steep. It ended up working out just fine, and the first crossing of Smedberg Lake outlet was multi-branched and easy to cross. After this point the trail was clear of snow and we were able to follow it as it followed the stream. The second crossing was slightly deeper and wider, but not too bad overall.
Another mile or so down the trail we came to the third crossing. This had two channels, the first easy to cross taking us to an island. About 20 yards up the island there was a log across the second channel, which was deeper and flowing much faster. The log was about 3.5 feet above the water and 16" in diameter. It was very sturdy and we were able to shimmy across it to the other side without incident.
Less than half a mile down the trail we came to our final crossing of the day: Piute Creek, which we had heard was a potentially difficult ford. On the map it looked as though there was one stream channel we would be crossing, but in reality it was more like three or four deep channels, which were all connected with shallow water between them in a giant marshy-wetland. Once we first got in the water to the time we made it out of the water on the other side was about 15 minutes. The first channel was pretty slow and waist deep. The second channel was slow as well, but up to mid-stomach on me, which caused my pack to start floating a little bit. The part that came next was the most interesting and, in my opinion, fun. The first part of the next crossing was shallow, but soon got deeper, so we climbed onto a conveniently located logjam. The logs were mostly solid, with the occasional log that would sink slightly. In between the logs were clumps of floating bark chunks, which appeared to be solid, but as I learned from experience were not, and gave way to the water below. Once the logjam was successfully navigated, there was only one more channel to get through to get to the other side. This one was up to mid-thigh and easily forded. After that, when I was standing on what should have been the shore, there was still water. In fact, the next 50 yards of the trail was covered with water and surrounded with the devastation of many recently downed trees.
After the great success of our crossings, we searched out the first dry camping location we could find so we could change into dry clothes and warm up. What a day! Probably going to repeat something similar again tomorrow; the excitement never ends.
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