Waking up to condensation is never fun but it is an excuse to wait for the sun to fully rise before leaving camp. Unfortunately the trees cast their shadows too far and we were forced to pack the damp tent and duvet before heading off on our way. The trail passed through yet more wide meadows after a brief stint uphill through forest. The river meandered lazily through and woodpeckers on the trees around us.
On our way to McCabe Creek, the first of many rivers, we sweated our way up and down a hill whose patchy snow slowed us down far more than we wanted. We bumped into a couple of SOBO hikers who told us the crossing were not too bad and that they had not had to swim at any point in the past section.
Reaching McCabe, we decided it was easy enough to cross at the trail, which it was, and similarly we took on Return Creek. We then came across Spiller Creek whose waters, once again, were fast flowing but nothing to how we were expecting. Another one bites the dust. Energised from our success we marched up a steep and snowy climb which quickly turned our spirits. We cursed the snow as we trudged up 1000 ft finally resting on a large rock at the summit for lunch and to dry out everything.
Benson Pass and Wilson Creek were the final two challenges of the day and once fuelled up we pressed on to get them done. We descended off trail due to snow to Wilson, another simple crossing, and began the long 1500 ft gain to Benson. Following a waterfall we switchbacked our way up avoiding crossings until the last time the trail did so. Snow and avalanche wake slowed us, but every step on a climb brings you closer to the top. Sun cups littered the ground around the summit, but once at top, we were greeted by stunning views of the next valley. We camped near the bottom of the descent alongside a small waterfall late into the evening.