Mile: 1600.4 to 1621.2 (20.8)
up/down: 3650/4650 feet
I looked all day for my marbles, never found them. I also looked all day for the rock marble and may have succeeded at the end. We are in the Marble Mountains, a range I've read was once an ancient sea thrust into a mountain range by volcanic activity. There is supposed to be lots of marble rock, I just didn't know where to look. And to be honest, I'm not sure I would recognize natural marble if a five pound chunk came rolling down and hit me on the side of the head. But look I did. This range is also know for its huge diversity of conifers, 17 species in all and supposedly the highest concentration of anywhere in the world. I did recognize one new life tree for sure, a Brewer's (Weeping) Spruce.
The hiking was spectacular all day, up high with great views and excellent flowers. The footing was rough for large sections which may have contributed to the perceived difficulty all day. By the time we made it to our preselected camp at 21 miles we were both done.
This one belongs in a Dr Suess book!
We passed one lake today that may win the prize for the coolest name - Man Eaten Lake. Really.
Lunch was at the tiny Fisher Lake, complete with many lounging salamanders in the shallows. They had bright orange undersides and feet!
About half way through the day we came through a notch in the ridge and got our first looks at Marble Mountain and Black Marble Mountain, two side by side peaks that look obviously different than everything else. Perhaps they are marble! We kept walking and eventually got real close, as in our camp is right below Marble Mountain. As we started into the valley we saw a finger of white rock that extended down. We walked right to it and magically we had found our marble. It's pretty neat to think of whole mountains made of marble, perhaps we'll get to explore more tomorrow as we climb out of the valley toward Black Marble Mountain.