7/2 18 miles
Now I’m on trail that’s a repeat of last year. We camped in a turnout where the “trail” (gravel road) has a junction with the Red Meadow Campground. We hauled water only 2 miles to make it possible. It’s been a hot day being pestered relentlessly by an assortment of mosquitoes, flies, and bees. Oh joy!
Hot Flash stopped by to say good bye–we’re going to miss him, but he’s doing 30’s and we’re not.
7/3 16 miles
I didn’t pick up enough water this morning at the last water source which was just a mile from our turnout camp. A couple miles on trail after the dirt road ended, I heard dirt bikes coming at me. They are absolutely forbidden on this trail and it is clearly marked. And the 3 of them were quite rude. The lead guy was barreling uphill at me, didn’t even attempt to cut his speed, give me the right-of-way, get off the bike or do anything. I had to leap off the trail so they could continue to tear up the tread. Not a nod, not a wave, nothing. Jerks. Real men walk on their own two feet.
There’s a few snow patches so I melted some to add to my water supply but there was a lot of climbing and descending until finally we headed up the last climb of the day to Mt. Locke. Poppy and I both found a big snow patch and got out our stoves to melt a couple of liters to get us through the heat of the day. I quickly downed a liter in the heat and bugs and continued down to our campsite. I found the trail I’d searched for last year, now marked by 3 cairns. Poppy didn’t believe the official PNT guide book was wrong so decided to follow the guide book directions. A while later I got her inReach text that she’d cliffed out and was coming back the way I’d gone. Fortunately, the worst blowdown section of all 2020 was cleared! Trail crew rules!
7/4 17 miles plus up to Mt Wam lookout and back to the trail
I was tired today. Started with 5 easy miles downhill to a paved uphill roadwalk, then trail to a miracle find campsite around Poppy’s desired 16 mile day. Bugs, heat, uphill. My big toes from Day 3 are actually blisters under the nail, painful but no way I should pop them–they’ll reabsorb the fluid hopefully. I need to figure out the water–drink more, carry more, it’s freaking hot!
At Mt Wam lookout I found my name in the trail register from last year, with One Gallon signing in after me. I found a plastic spoon for Poppy too since she lost hers and has been eating with a tent stake. The register claimed there was a rabbit living under the shelter but Poppy swore later she saw a kitty. However, she was almost delirious with the heat so I’m hoping there’s not a feral cat living on the top of a mountain all by herself.
7/5 15 miles
This was a beautiful day, walking the cirque, no snow, unlike last year, to the little lake that I blew my sleeping pad on last year. We’re now camped just 12 miles from town, Eureka, our next stop, right on the border. A previous hiker commented that a creature was yelping and growling right outside his tent at this spot so I’ve been yelling “Arf! Grr!” at frequent intervals.
Still incredibly hot, but the bugs are somewhat sparcer. These “low” mile days are actually pretty great. I’m thinking ahead and hoping Slide Rule can help us slack pack the walk between Eureka, along the rail-to-trail stretch and across 1972’s most beautiful bridge to the trailhead just off the road, a 19 mile stretch.
7/6 12 miles to town
Another easy quick day. I got turned around when the trail routed through a golf course (what??), but Poppy caught up and we made it to the Silverado Motel. Sadly, when she was ahead of me earlier, she came across a deer with a broken leg, suffering. She flagged down the next car. “It’s Montana, he was carrying a gun, and was able to put it out of it’s misery.”
We got to town, checked in early and dashed across the street for a wonderful breakfast, second breakfast! Slide Rule arrived later, so after showering and doing our laundry, we all went for dinner. Town days are good!
7/7 19 miles slackpack
I listened to Hamilton, “sang” along, danced and generally enjoyed the quick hike west to east (EABO) back to Eureka. And then super yummy pizza and beer at Fire and Slice in Eureka. So no zero for us but we got the miles done.