Fun trip! Ended up getting off to a late start, but that was okay since I probably did not want to see the Rim Road going that direction during the day.
We camped out in the shadow of the car as soon as we got there. Got a good night's rest before being awoken by other trailgoers. Packed up and then packed out.
The first portion of the trail was the General Crook Trail. Sometimes, if you squint hard enough, you can even see a trail. We'd get some hints of trail, then several markings (chevrons/blazes/white spraypainted rings) all in a row, then suddenly nothing and we'd have to consult the GPS to find out exactly where we were headed. Took a detour to the rim to check out the views and to have some lunch before locating the Houston Brothers Trail to walk amongst the ferns and fences. We got to the "cabin" (barn?) and fireplace (cabin?) near the Aspen Spring and set up camp for the night. We actually got there a lot earlier than expected, which was probably a really good thing as I was under constant attack from my pack and collecting all sorts of chafe marks from the shoulder straps. Steve fixed it by tying a quick knot in one of the connector straps, bringing them more snugly together. Such a simple fix, yet so valuable. =P After recovering, I got right to cooking up a meal that pretty much tasted five star despite the fact it came out of a Mountain House bag. Mmmm! Darkness fell, and we checked out various landmarks in the sky before calling it a night.
Day two we got on the trail after an amazing breakfast.. well, I guess my breakfast was amazing. Again, out of a bag, but Mountain House makes the most delicious eggs-ham-red&greenpeppers concoction that I've ever eaten.. out of a bag. Kept very hydrated and downed various Gu packets seemingly constantly. The heat and humidity were really taking it out of me! We finished up the Houston Brothers Trail and started on the Fred Haught. So many trees, yet so little tree cover. Lucky for us, the weather was really starting to roll in. Clouds and cool breezes kept the heat down somewhat. Thunder echoing from afar kept our feet moving. We started getting small droplets of rain less than a mile from the trailhead. Once we reached the car, lightning was beginning to light up the sky. Back in the nick of time!
Really enjoyed this beautiful loop. Great way to spend a weekend, and great company!