The Chiwawa is more like a chihuahua right now - it'll only come up to your calf, and it's easy to shake off. In other words, no worries about the river ford to begin the hike - very low flow.
Beyond that, the trail is in good condition. There are a few trees down here and there, but nothing requiring more than a long stride.
On the upper stretches, whatever snow there was has melted away. There's some still on distant hillsides - that's about it.
The upper meadows are ablaze in color. The leaves of the blueberry bushes have painted entire hillsides the color of rust, and a smattering of the larches are fully golden in some places. It makes for a stunning contrast. Most of the Napeequa River valley is still green, but swaths of orange and red are visible on the lower reaches of the slope nearer to Little Giant Pass. In the distance, you can see other groves of larches starting to turn. Not quite golden yet, but well on their way.
I could see haze from smoke in the distance - the forest fires have not yet died out, but they didn't settle into this part of the state. A previous attempt to come here had been thwarted by thick choking smoke, so I'm very grateful that I avoided that fate this time around.
This one had been on my list for a very long time, and it didn't disappoint. One of the most beautiful places I've ever been.