Our trailhead was Lodgepole, & Dick reserved us a camp site there for the night before the hike started, so we could get on the trail nice & early. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how early they expected to leave on Tuesday, so we got out of town later than they had planned, so we couldn't get our permit Tuesday night, but had to wait until the Ranger Station opened in the morning. Nevertheless, we had an easy drive & David & Dick regaled me with tales of their previous hikes on this trail.
Three hours to Three Rivers. That's the catch phrase to remember about how long it takes to get to Lodgepole. Unfortunately, Three Rivers isn't the trailhead, it's just the last town you pass through before you go into the park, so really it took us about 3 hours and 45 minutes to get to Lodgepole. We dropped off our packs in the campsite, then Dick & I drove up to drop the car off at Wolverton (where you have to park for hiking in the area). On the drive we saw a 4 point buck by the side of the road.
The two mile trail down from Wolverton into Lodgepole was just enough exercise to work up an appetite, which was a good thing, as I brought pesto sauce made with fresh basil I picked in my garden that morning (part of the delay for why we got out so late). We packed away all our food in the bear box & hit the sack to get a good night's sleep before our first day.
wildlife: deer, lizards, bugs