Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 59- A Thousand Little Beasts

Glen Aulin at 948 to mile ?

My shoes and socks smelled so bad last night I had to move them from their usual place in my tent by my hips to the foot end of my tent and I could still smell them.  I didn't sleep well-I don't think six miles is enough for me to sleep.  But I felt ready to hike in the morning.

Everybody left camp around the same time, but nobody left camp with anyone-kind of unusual.  The trail started off with a brief level section then went uphill-just enough to get the blood going.  We all grouped up in a meadow right after the climb.  We were all liking the trail thus far-woods trail with a very different feel than what we've been doing.

Opus and I left the meadow together and the trail quickly went back into the forest and with forest comes blow downs.  I was a bit disappointed-I thought we had left the blow downs behind at Red's Meadow.  There was one really bad snarl of trees that completely hid the trail.  I was following the footsteps of others who had bushwhacked around the mess hoping they were leading me back to the trail.  After a bit they did bring me back to the trail and I continued on my merry way to Canada.

After eight miles the trail came to a good sized river.  There were some logs most of the way across that worked well.  While I had two dry feet I kicked off my shoes and washed my stinking socks.  The water was so cold-super glad I didn't get my feet wet while crossing.  While at the river I looked up and saw a beautiful buck looking back at me.  He was the first one I've seen with antlers-he kept a close eye on me while he came closer.  I had to call Opus three times before he heard me over the river's rumble and saw the buck-who ran away.
When there were blow downs they were a snarled mess

I put on my still felt like new socks and hiked onward-for about five minutes before coming to another branch of the same river.  It took a bit of looking, but we found a log crossing the river.  I wasn't about to get my fresh socks all wet.  The log felt really high over the river-maybe three feet high over chest deep water.  It felt a little scary at first, but by the middle it was easy.

After the river the trail went up and it did so rather steeply for a few miles.  At the top of the climb Opus and I had lunch and were soon joined by Nightingale and King Nutella.  It was a short lunch-the mosquitoes decided that they also wanted lunch.

The beginning of the afternoon was spent going up a ways then down a ways.  Neither the ups or downs were very long which was good, but Opus is faster on the up and I'm faster on the down.  I was in the lead and felt like we should switch on and off, but that also felt silly.  Then the trail went down and I didn't have to worry about it any more.

At the bottom was another river.  Nothing looked good for rock hopping, but Opus thought he saw a way and went first.  He made it to the other side with two wet feet.  I changed into my camp shoes.  It was only ankle deep or I would have stayed to play in the water-it felt so nice.  We had a quick snack (and so did the mosquitoes) and then it was time to move on uphill.

The trail climbed up to a 10,000 foot pass.  It started out pretty steep and then mellowed out some near the middle.  We had to cross the river four more times-each time it was noticeable smaller.  They were all dry feet crossings that didn't take any thinking about.  At the last crossing we stopped for water so we could cook dinner at the top of the pass where there would be enough wind to keep the mosquitoes away (we hoped).  The mosquito swarm descended as soon as we stopped-it was almost bad enough to make me not need water (but I really like having dinner).

At the top of the pass we climbed to the top of the ridge above it looking for a bug free dinner spot.  The idea had worked so well the other day for lunch, but not this time.  Those mosquitoes were hardy.  They clung on while the breeze blew.  I had about 20 on my hat-or so Opus told me.  We ate and left in a hurry while laughing about hiding in our tents the rest of the evening.

Two miles after the pass we came across three little tents in a meadow with three people hiding from the mosquitoes.  I don't know if I ever set my tent up so quickly before.  I dove in and dragged my pack in with me.  I feel like there are a thousand little beasts baying at my door.  There's so many it's almost creepy.  I hope they go away at some point so I can brush my teeth in peace.

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