Since I was going alone I started a little bit later than usual, leaving the trailhead a little after 7:30. My legs were feeling somewhat sluggish from yesterday's Grandeur Loop and last week's Squaw Peak 50+, but getting miles on tired legs is exactly what I need to prepare for Hardrock.
Heading up from Mill D I took a right at Blunder Fork to get to Desolation. Just before reaching the lake I filled my bottle from the spring that appeared to running at full capacity. Right after the spring I finally ran into a little bit of snow just before Desolation Lake. Once I gained the crest I took a left and north along the Great Western trail where I encountered a fair amount of snow. Of course there are a few downed trees but overall the trail is pretty good shape. I took the long way down to Big Water where I tagged the parking lot, turned around and started the climb up to Dog Lake. The clouds started to break up, transforming the forest in a shimmering sea of green.
A brief stop at Dog Lake then I started the descent back to Mill D. The condition of the trail was probably the best I've ever seen on the steep descent leaving Dog Lake, obviously due to the high amount of rain we've been receiving.
I had a great conservative run, completing the ~18 mile modified loop with 3650' vertical in 3hrs 15mins.