Nice drive to the TH except for the final 0.6 mile where you still need high clearance vehicles. All of the off-pavement roads were in excellent shape with NF 1030 being scraped and rolled by a surprised road crew as we went by.
Bright sunny day with temperatures in the 50s. The portion of the trail above Phantom Meadows is in slightly better shape than it was two years ago, probably thanks to the Fort Complex fire crews having opened it up a bit. However, after you make the turn to the east and start heading up the ridge the trail is quite overgrown with Manzanita. We noticed that most of the knobcone pines along there were dead.
We saw very little fire damage, just a small area burned below the Fourmile Butte ridge top. Snow covered Preston Peak was quite visible at 18 miles as well as Sawtooth Mountain at 37 miles.
We wondered why the corn flower filled Fir Glade was named a glade rather than a meadow. Turns out that a glade is an open space in a forest, whereas meadow more properly refers to a grassy area.
On our return after the hike our directionally challenged leader had us turn the wrong way on NF 1030. However, we were able to rather quickly recover from this error and enjoy refreshment at the Avalon.