I did not freak out at our position. I think I said something like, "Well, this will make an amusing story later," and, after a brief discussion of whether to go back to the Zoom Trail or continue down the Flume Trail, in which Mosch argued for continuing on because we had come quite a distance downhill (about 500' if you believe the map), we set off down the Flume Trail with a quickness.
We needed to walk 2.2 miles to the intersection with the Chainsaw Trail, and then somewhat uphill to the Zoom Trail, and then a bit downhill to the car.
Most of our path was through woods, with an occasional log to rest on:
And finally came to the one single bench we found along this whole trail, where I had a good rest for about 10 minutes while mosquitoes bit Mosch all over (I looked up at one point to see about 15 just on one of his legs). My feet were incredibly sore by this point, but the scene was idyllic. I'm only sad that the camera didn't capture the blue sky properly.
When we reached the Chainsaw Trail, I thought we were home free, but it turned out that most of the trail was a pretty extreme uphill chug (as you can see on the map) through picturesques woods that I was thoroughly tired of seeing.
Birds sang, squirrels rustled around us, the weather was gorgeous - a bit under 70 all day, sunny and with a cool breeze - but I was just dog tired. That last uphill bit really took the stuffing right out of me. I found myself not crying involuntarily, and not intentionally trying to cry, but involuntarily trying to make myself cry. (I couldn't even do that.) Mountain bikers would pass us, all fresh on their way uphill, and we would say hi, and, yes, great day to be out, and all that, but I really thought I might die.
So we got to the Zoom trail, and even that went on further than I'd expected, though it was at least downhill.
And eventually, the best moment thus far: we saw the car! Can you see it there between the trees? I was almost happy at this point.
Continue to Part 4...