The day started like we expected, gentle walk down the canyon with one climb to pull us out and enjoy the views even more.
A quick break and it felt like we were at the top, false summits as usual but the reward when the view opened up was pretty fantastic. Miles of granite and canyons stretched out ahead of us.
Anna was slow to catch up and mentioned a few blisters (guys fix this nonsense when its still a hot spot, blisters are so not worth it). We were already slower than I had hoped but the views had me smiling and excited to keep going so on we went.
Open granite and aspen surrounded us as we slowly approached Devil's Postpile. Anna was lagging farther behind but continually assured us she was okay to keep going when she caught up on our breaks. I was getting worried but brushed it aside as we entered an old burn (sometime during the 90's) that had us baking in the sun and climbing a whole lot more than we expected on a day that should have been mostly downhill.
We hit our first intersection as we officially entered Devils Postpile National Monument after about 12 miles of hiking and waited for Anna to find us, well over 20 people passed us as we baked in the sun. Guess closed is more of a suggestion out here, no signs or rangers in sight.
Despite the handy you are here dot on this giant map we had some issues. Following the signs to Devils Postpile we found ourselves climbing, and then climbing some more. In the hot dusty afternoon we started to have doubts, magnified when we realized we were looking at the monument from across the canyon. Oops, well look now we barely touched the actual closed area and at least caught a glimpse of the area even if it was from afar.
And it turns out there actually were closed signs, except we only ran into them on our way out of the national monument. Hmm okay then, well we saw a ton of hikers but certainly no rangers. And back into the land of wilderness and onwards onto the John Muir Trail. Anna looked pretty darn tired but with no water we decided to push on to the closest creek, another mile or so.
Camp was a welcome relief for my little group. 16 miles may have been a bit much for them...
|don't they look excited to be pumping water?|
After seeing a fair bit of fresh bear scat we decided to be on the safe side and attempt to hang our food. What followed was an hour of ridiculous laughing and one darn creative food hang (that thing was crazy heavy!).
Tucked in against the cold and very unsure about tomorrow I started to drift off to sleep only to be jolted awake by howling. And welcome to the wild, a pack of coyotes was clearly nearby and all the howling was pretty darn unsettling. After way to much nervous chatter it was back to sleep, or at least the hope of some good sleep. 14 miles will put us at Thousand Island lake tomorrow night but I have some serious doubts about my fellow hikers ability and desire to trek that far. My feet are itching and I'm missing the miles I can put make solo but the laughter and craziness is helping mitigate my antsiness.