What a phenomenal trail! I got a much later start than I wanted, so had to deal with the heat of the day and lots of people on the trail.
Started at 9:56 am. I was surprised at how runnable this trail was, especially the first couple miles that are buttery, forested single track. I passed a lot of backpackers coming down the trail as I made my way up. Luckily, I didn't have the navigational issues that those prior to me did (thank you for the gpx track!), although there were multiple intersections where I had to stop and double check which way to go.
I was floored by the gorgeous waterfalls on the way up, and had to talk myself out of stopping for a quick dip or a perfectly composed photo every time I saw one.
As I came up to the first lake, I took a not-so-ideal line and ended up in fun, but time-consuming bushwhacky scramble to the larger lake. Made it to the shore just over 2 hours into the effort, spent very little time there, and turned around.
I took a slightly different scrambly line down from the lakes and cruised out the techy trail from there. I took one fall (pick up your feet!) because of the rocks and roots hiding underneath some brush. I somehow landed on my butt sitting on a rock and escaped with only a sore wrist.
The rest of the run was uneventful. I finished 3 hours and 34 minutes after starting.
This area is SO gorgeous and I will certainly come back to backpack this trail to truly enjoy what the area has to offer.
*Side note - because this is an extremely popular backpacking trail, I highly recommend doing this during the week or VERY early in the morning to avoid having to pass people. Some sections of this trail are extremely narrow with very little ability to give a wide berth to other people. Also, overnight parking is allowed and I was able to sleep in my car.