Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ruby Mountains Day 2

Woke up to a chilly, beautiful day. Packed up and hit the ridgeline for 5 or so miles.

Sitka looking out at the sunrise and the fog. 

The beginning of long canyon
After long canyon there was one more small climb onto the ridge and then the trail drops down and hugs the side of the mountains and contours away until just before Overland lake.

Hard to see but that thin line is the trail across the way

there are wildflowers in bloom everywhere

and then I smudged the lens on my camera and didn't realize that all my photos were blurry for a few hours...
I had known that Overland lake had water but was pleasantly surprised to run into 3 branches of Overland creek crossing the trail about a mile before the lake. It was getting pretty toasty out and surprise water is pretty fantastic. Sadly no pretty pictures, there was even a waterfall...
I stopped at a small trail sign for overland lake and hid under one of the few trees. I was a bit confused as the intersection wasn't clearly on my map but luckily right after I sat down some horses came down the trail asking if I was heading up to the lake (the spur had been heading straight downhill). Turns out its a trail to the lake that you can access more directly than the one I was on, I later found out that pretty much every hiker stopped there and was confused for a bit. Good to know it wasn't just me.

smudgy photo of Overland Lake
It was only 10 in the morning but it was such a lovely lake that I decided on an early lunch break. It was a pretty great break spot. I know the dog sure loved it, swimming and sleeping what more could you want? Okay well the dog slept, I tried but was continually woken up by obnoxious screaming and singing (there is a time and place for bad Rihanna renditions guys, c'mon now). Watched thunderclouds start to pile up and decided to head out after a few hours, up and over the pass.

the trail is on the right hand side, it switchbacks up to the pass after the little lake
Getting to the top I met my first other backpackers. 2 girls from Reno who were hiking with an older couple. They had started earlier on Thursday at Harrison Pass and had cars waiting at Lamoille. Apparently all those pretty foggy moments I enjoyed were 5 hours worth of pouring rain earlier in the day. I definitely lucked out on that one. 

Around the corner is the next section of trail...

and now descend almost to the bottom just for kicks

at least this was my view as I headed down
Then came the fun part, there were three creeks to cross and the trail decided to drop you all the way to the bottom of each drainage and then haul you back up out of the canyon to the next one. Pretty aspen by the creeks but very little trail maintenance and those bushes are rough on your legs. 

Even the dog would stop and look at me like I was crazy as we headed down the trail, overgrown much?

stopping at one of the creeks Sitka curled up and refused to move. The day was starting to get long. 

After the North, Middle and South Fork of the creek it was one more haul up to a ridgeline. I was getting tired and this seemed long. Probably because instead of nicely graded trail the whole afternoon had been pretty steep trail and I was feeling it for sure. 

At the top was yet another beautiful view

getting lower, all aspens and wildflowers
I had been debating where to stop for the evening all day. I felt okay but tired and I was pretty sure the dog needed some rest so I looked at the options. McCutcheon creek seemed promising, however when I got there an Americorp trail crew was there. While friendly I didn't feel that social and the group spooked the dog so on we went. Looking at my map I knew we were only a mile or two away from Green Mountain Trail Head which is where the trail stops being trail and the last bit to Harrison Pass is on dirt roads. Now I've spent a fair amount of time on roads and I was having a hard time coming up with a reason to hike down a road and turn around just to see a parking lot. So when I got to Green Mountain I figured why not right, this is my hike and on my map this is where the trail ends anyway. Harrison pass is just the nearest parking spot. Rationale aside I was worried about the dog, I had a flat spot and I knew water was less than a mile away in the morning so I called it an early night and enjoyed some downtime. 

Camping at 8000 ft was definitely warmer than 10000, thankfully only a few bugs because of the breeze. Another good day. Depending on which map you look at and who you talk to I think this was about a 19 mile day, not too shabby.

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