Miles hiked as of 7/20: 209
6 1/2 brutal uphill hours on trail but since I got a ride from Dan I skipped 9.2 miles of road walking. I could get used to this personal driver thing. There was a spring about 5 miles up so I got enough water to camp and pitched my tent at the third campsite mentioned in Guthooks. About 10 pm, voices and headlamps. Gasket and Backtrack showed up, awesome to have company! They got up at 5:30, so me too.
The Selkirk Mountains are beautiful, granite and alpine, just a few snow patches left on the ridge and fantastic cirque views, oh the rock!
So this “trail” has a bunch of bushwhack sections. The 2 options coming up midday said I should start first thing in the morning since it could take a lot of time. I looked at the maps and saw I could hike to a road at Pyramid Lake, get picked up, drive a few hours, skip the bushwhack and rejoin on a road. So Dan drove me about 72 miles to Priest Lakes to avoid a 5 mile bushwhack, brilliant! I camped next to the van.
And slept fine despite the car stopping by to warn us about a huge cinnamon black bear nearby, never saw her. The tread was actual trail today along the Priest Lakes, then into huge, ancient cedars, 2000 years old the guide says. Then gravel roads for a few miles up of course to a brushy trail. No huckleberries so no bear. That turned into more awesome cedar, shaded and cooler with soft tread. I kind of had to jury rig a tent site but it seems fine. I had a really good day and no bushwhack.
Campsite was fine. After walking an hour or two I heard One Gallon’s bear yodel, “Go away bear!” He caught up and we walked and talked the rest of the day—which really helped because it was a brutal day. I took one bad fall in endless blowdown, raising a lovely hematoma on my shin with blood running into my sock. You’re working so hard and your heart is pumping so it takes awhile for even minor cuts to clot. I got low on water because there wasn’t any where the map predicted and it was another hot day. But we made it to cleared trail and camped by Noisy Creek at last after 12 hours.
One Gallon was up early and out but I left at 6:45 on perfect trail (mountain bike tracks) to the Sullivan Lake campground trail to gravel road. Sometime after hitting the gravel I took a shade break and heard the bear yodel. One Gallon had stopped to swim in the lake. We walked and talked for a few miles down the road until the 3 Sterley boys rolled up in Dave’s pickup and whisked me off to the Metaline Falls grocery store while One Gallon turned down a ride of course. Then off we went to a campground by Boundary Dam about 10 miles beyond. Since the hotel in Metaline Falls was full I took a shower in Dave’s trailer—perfect! Doug, Dan and Dave are here camping and fishing from kayaks, it’s a beautiful place.