FR22 to Bill Hall TH was in very good condition. Only two shallow pools across the entire road were of slight concern. Most could navigate a Yugo. I'd imagine it gets messy in the mud after rain. Currently it's 2wd for drivers with a clue.
After twenty two miles through a maze of forest the Bill Hall TH was almost full. We passed several one to two inch shallow pools in the pockets of the Esplanade.
Surprise Valley sage has a crisp scent that raises your head to fully inquire.
My first trip two years ago was a shock treatment of wow. This round I came back with a better understanding of the surrounding area. We crossed paths with several groups going both directions. One group camped in Surprise Valley then did the loop as a day hike. Only a couple of them even had day packs, oh the jealousy.
Russ brought his daughter Katie. With no recent hikes this journey started cursing her world 8 miles in on day 1. Despite blisters, shaky legs and regurgitating reflexes she defeated the odds! This was my second hike with Fan. Realized she is resilient and adaptable. Appreciate that she let us drive her car. Especially since she replaced the wind chimes on the mirror with a quiet stuffed pillow!
Despite trying to talk someone* out of eating at the crap hole inn we finally got our gasping dry burgers on stale ciabatta in a couple hours.
Big thanks to * for putting together this group hike, most appreciated!