I wake feeling far more refreshed than I had anticipated. The sun has just barely risen over the mesa, compelling me to start packing my gear. A quick breakfast of strawberry Pop-Tarts warmed in cowboy coffee is scarfed down before we bolt. Our goal is to make it back to basecamp before 8:15 A.M., before the select few vehicles departing into different regions of the backcountry leave the dock and are gone for the day. Boots on, we smoothly and efficiently sail down yesterday's struggle, stopping only to shed warmer outer layers. I notice a caterpillar rapidly inching through the unprotected dirt, long wiry tufts wildly sprouting all over his miniature body. I smirk and figure we are ahead of schedule for early birds. The trail starts to become wider and flatter as we press onward. We are getting close.