This is our final day! The lake is like a polished mirror, and the mountain range stand like a boundary between the water and the sky. The two almost look indistinguishable. The kids stir and wake up. I go out for a photography session and fish while Yan makes oatmeal breakfast.
Rock Creek is still singing when I get up. The clothes on the line are mostly dry. Soon, the kids stir. I climb the hillock nearby and shoot pictures of clear reflections in the lake as it stretches like a polished slab of glass dotted with marsh grass.
The trail rises gently out of Mosquito Flat. In contrast to the scorching hot week in Loma Linda, the air, scented with pine needles and sagebrush, is cool. I tell the kids a story about hiking in Kings Canyon to distract them from the mild uphill. Just before the trail junction to Ruby Lake and Mono Pass, everyone takes a break by some shaded boulders.
The anticipation began more than six months ago. After seeing the kids hike the loop trail in Pinnacles National Park, and after having abandoned their double stroller in favor of shoes, we grew confident that they will be able to go backpacking.