We woke up at the pond and as I was finally ready to use the bathroom I realized two things. The first was that some people can dig a cat whole without a trowel, but that it is very difficult for me in the hardest dirt to accomplish such a task. The second is that this area is apparently somewhere where everyone feels ready to go and many do a very poor job of marking where they went. (Mark your cat wholes and carry out your TP people!)
As we lingered packing up camp listening to the animals on the rocky hillside go “meep” (THEY NEVER STOP) a thru-hiker came to gather water. You could tell he thought we were a bit ridiculous with our overpacked bags, late start, and paranoia on hanging our food. Turns out he cowboy camps with his food right next to him every night. Oh well… To each their own.
We hit the trail and ended up in a beautiful valley with a creek inhabited by tons of frogs. The trail passed over it with a giant one belly-up passing it hoping we wouldn’t end up the same way.
The switchbacks up the mountain on the other side were brutal and coming down was worse on Nika’s feet. We stopped at the lookout for a snack and began to see smoke rising in the distance and growing into a giant plume while looking down at a lake that we would have paid anything to soak our feet in. Again, I wondered if she would leave me here or never speak to me again after we got off the trail. I feared that with pain and exhaustion she regretted ever agreeing to this crazy adventure where we not only had to worry about normal things but the countless fires that seemed to be closing in on us. I looked down at my legs and hands which no matter how many times I tried to wipe them down could not make the dirt go away and finally succumbed to my mini-meltdown repeating “I’m just so dirty” over and over again and remembering the days where I would have an anxiety attack if I didn’t take a shower within 10 minutes of waking up. It didn’t help that I had decided to have a carnation shake for lunch that despite the recipe found online left something to be desired.
We continued to the bridge at a river crossing where a group of brothers and their friend George thought they were doing us a favor by showing us to a private site on top of a small hill. Not thrilled at the site but not wanting to be rude we set up camp and then found out that one of them had gotten lost for an entire day setting them behind and short of food. We unloaded several meals and breakfasts as well as educating them on modern navigation apps such as Guthooks. It is amazing to me that they have been backpacking for 20 years and seemed clueless about food, navigation, where best to set up camp when a storm was expected.
After lounging by the river and having a halfway post-dinner snickers we stayed up giggling listening to the wind pick up and whip through the rainfly sounding like birds flapping. The dirt on that hill was intense and coated everything where it was never the same and would forever have a feel of dust and grit layer. So much for washing up in the river!
|8 Miles||Campsite at Pond||Waptus River|
|LUNCH||• Carnation Breakfast Shake w/ Powdered Malt & Milk
• Tuna & Crackers
|DINNER||• Potato Chowder|
• Energy Jelly Beans