After 26 miles the day before we found Team All Dead camped just on the other side of the Rancher's fence. It was dark and mostly quiet in camp when we joined them and went to bed without supper. The next morning, much to my surprise, I was the last one awake. I would have slept longer had Portrait not sneezed loudly next to me.
Everybody set their sights on a cabin with a spring 20 miles away. I thought, how easy, a 20 mile day. It wasn't.
Maybe the first couple miles were easy, but then we entered a canyon. For the canyon picture a rock stream bed with not a drop of water in it and high steep walls on either side. Also add in some shrubs with big thorns and a few snarled trees. Don't add in a path for most of the canyon. It was rough. When there was a path it would stay on one side of the stream bed, then drop into the bed, fizzle, and we'd fine it again on one side or the other. We all made slow progress.
At the top of the canyon we entered a pine forest that was lovely. It was cool and dark. The whole day had been a little cold, but the climbing kept me warm enough.
At lunch time we hit the first water of the day only to find Bone Lady and Cheese filtering mud through Cheese's shirt. There was water, but we had to work for it. Two hours later we left, everybody muddier and we all had enough water to get to the cabin (and it tasted like clay). But if the spring wasn't flowing there?
The trail went up steeply. Before I knew it I was over 8,000 feet and having to stop often on the first big leg of the climb. Once we were on the ridge I felt better. It was even colder at elevation.
Just as quick as we went up the trail went back down to a pass. I tried to move right along--I really wanted to be in that cabin. The hiking day reminded me a lot of hiking to Ulrich cabin near the end of the PCT. The day had that same feel to it--a deep need to get to a certain place.
That need became even more apparent as Portrait and I climbed upwards after the pass. The weather got worse on us--high cold winds, temp dropped. At some point around 9,000 feet with a high altitude cough settling in it became not a need but a must for us to reach the cabin. We needed its shelter.
It was full dark by the time we finally crested the top of the mountain. I was depleted. Without knowing the water situation we settled in--rolling out our sleeping bags on the floor as our breath clouded around us. To bed again without a hot dinner, and no sign of Team All Dead.
|The Cabin in the light of the morning|