After finding Ripley the dogs lost booty in the morning and taking our sweet time packing up we ventured into a valley filled with smoke where we met a ranger and learned about the Jolly fire while she was talking to a bunch of backpackers with open carry guns. Being fairly anti-gun (except hunting) crowd this was particularly a bizarre crowd and we skiddalded our way to dry creek where we shared beefy mac and cheese.
It was while eating that we first met a couple of thru-hikers and began talking about the cons of Cuban fiber (now more commonly known as Dyneema) tents.
They continued while we finished up our lunch and later came across them when we tried to cross a crazy cascading stream. It was about 47.8 miles into our trip and we had never encountered anything like this. We started looking upstream (always look downstream) when the couple began moving towards us on the other side showing us through hand signals of the loud sounds of the water to a log which was much less intimidating.
They continued to hang out and relax while we made our way up the hill of the other side crossing dry and damp waterfall/ creek areas. Nika was leading the way when I stepped on a rock that wasn’t as stable as I thought. I went down hard with a scream facing the mountain with no idea how much space I had before the very steep drop off and my arm pinned with my pack and trekking poles so it was impossible to get up. (Afterwards, Nika said I looked like a “stuck turtle.”) Nika, trying not to panic, came running back as I was grabbing a root to make sure my pack didn’t drag me off the cliff. I slowly told Nika that I couldn’t move, nor could I see where I was and was going to need her help. I had her take off her pack and lean it against the mountain and then come to help me by taking my trekking poles and unclip my pack to move it to a safe space. It was only then that I could actually move and see that I had just enough space to not be worried about dropping at any second and that although in a lot of pain and sure the bruise the size of a cowboy hat would appear by morning I was ok and nothing was broken, twisted, or sprained to make me not able to finish the trail. It was a great lesson in communication and working while under pressure for the two of us.
It was also about this time that the blond couple came running around the corner and exclaimed that it had sounded like the scream was coming from as I was falling and they were expecting a much worse sight.
We hiked and hiked… and hiked. At some point, we began a discussion about the unsatisfactory ending of the Gilmore Girls reboot when a guy that was slackpacking came up behind us and while laughing at his ability to recognize our topic told us about how it a show his wife and daughter loved. We talked quickly and then he continued at his brisk pace to get back to camp and make dinner and was forever more referred to as “Gilmore Girl Dad.” It wasn’t long after this that a blond woman hiking at a lighting speed also passed us
with a quick hello and then disappeared up the mountain.
We finally arrived at Deception Lake where we crossed a small creek to set up on a beautiful space across from the blond woman, named Natasha and just under the clearing that Gilmore Girl Dad was set up for his long weekend trip. We talked into the night with Natasha from our tents as we prepared and ate dinner and then stayed warm under our bags. She was a Linguistics PhD who had worked in Paris as was currently in Germany. She warned of the pitfalls of academia and had a great sense of humor when telling a story about a lady who had refused to share a tent area as she was a section hiker who “needed space” when Natasha had arrived after dark and after a very long day of hiking.
We finally said goodnight through our tent walls after a night of great laughs with our new friend.
|11.5 Miles||Deep Lake||Deception Lake|
|LUNCH||• Beefy Mac & Cheese|
|SNACKS||• Trail Mix