The following morning was much colder than the previous and I got a decently early start. I hoped that by starting early that the snow would again be firm and I wouldn't break through. Unfortunately it didn't work and I had some of my worst postholing. One section of about 100 yards where I was breaking through consistently above the knees, and where water was running below, meaning that my boots which had dried the previous afternoon were again soaked for the day, convinced me that I would not follow my original plan of hiking through to Byers Lake. There is a trail down at a midpoint called Ermine Hill, and I decided that it would be too much work and push my schedule to try and get there at this pace. I could see parts of the ridge farther south, and though a bit lower altitude, they clearly had a lot of snow still. And is often the case in these situations, I neglected to get any decent pictures of the postholing sections of the trail.
After a few hours of hiking I ran into these interesting plant arrangements
I then dropped down into a valley near the trail junction and there was this section of boardwalked trail across a marshy area.
There is a lake in this valley. The trail junction is just to the left, and despite this being about 2300 feet, there is still snow. The trail out goes through the snow on the far side of this lake.
More arctic ground squirrels near my campsite
and some alpine flowers
There are some odd rock formations on the small ridge just to the south
After setting up camp after 3 hours of hiking, I dayhiked over the ridge to the south and down a very steep trail on the other side to a lower canyon.
Alaskan hiking can be very brushy
And some classic soft and spongy tundra on the top of the ridge
My camp was on a sandy knoll, well-populated with the squirrels, overlooking the lake and the valley. You can see my tent near the bottom in the middle
The next morning the hike was slow going past the lake, but then I finally got past the snow and had an easy hike out. The three miles took two hours, and lot of it getting the half mile past the lake.