Here's a picture of yesterday's campsite close to one of the tarns - literally a foot or two away from the water's edge. I slept restlessly during the night (not used to sleeping on rocky soil) and heard an animal come to drink from the pool - not like a dog that comes and slurps up some water and leaves, realizing that it can return at its leisure - but a more lengthy visit where the animal drank, paused, drank more, paused, et cetera; very early in the morning, I also heard a person come to fill a container with water.
Today was a day of very sore quads and limping around like an old man. Now that it's had a chance to soak in, the memory of this trip is a magical moment to be recollected with fondness. Future hikes too will be less stressful, as I was a little concerned about meandering off into the wilderness without a map or compass. But I studied maps and was told at the rangers' station that the trail was well marked.
What a glorious sojourn into the North Cascades. Weather cooperating, my remaining summer will take me to the mountains again on my old BMW motorbike and a sailing trip to deliver a yacht to Portland before the winter rains. Then time to relax through the lethargy of winter. I hope.