25.5 miles of hiking • 4750' elevation gain •
Finally knocked this loop off. Been wanting to do it for a few years now. Very interesting, but I think I'd go the other direction next time. Started going down Lava Canyon, which I just can't decide whether it's best first or last in the day? Either way, not prime. Then I followed the Smith Creek canyon up to FR99. The first 7 or 8 miles are relatively flat through an alder forest. Not really what I expected, but, well, interesting. One weird crossing, otherwise no way to goof up. Big climb (~2300') at 11+ miles in. But then it was just a cruise from there. Lunched high above the south shore of Spirit Lake, swung through Windy, then took the Abraham over to Ape Canyon and down. Most excellent day in the blastzone!