Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 58: Ute Basin You're Killing Me

6/18: mile 920.2-934.6 (West Ute Lake)
Miles: 14.4 (and of course the pedometer thinks we did more, 20 in fact)
Total trip miles: 785.9

Word of advice, if you're camping at the La Vaca Creek crossing I don't recommend sleeping in the first spot on your left. I slept great but Nightcrawler had her own mini mammal symphony. We're thinking she slept next to a snowshoe hare's home because I guess the rabbit bothered her all night. There were also mystery tree noises just to add to the fun. 

Porcupine butt

Are porcupines related to sloths?

Nightcrawler isn't exactly a morning person so I usually have some extra time while she gets packed up. Today I found myself staring at what looked like a giant ball of moss in the tree above her tent, only problem was that the moss was breathing. Mystery solved, the trees were not peeling their own bark overnight it was a porcupine. I had no idea how much like sloths those guys look. 

After staring at the porcupine for ages we did actually start hiking. Starting the morning off crossing a canal, mmm icy morning baths. 

Then we had almost 2.5 miles of glorious snow free trail. All a nice steep climb, bringing us back to the divide. 

Nightcrawler was having a really rough day. She barely slept and was pretty useless navigation wise and was too tired to lead. So a nice stressful morning for us both. 

Getting close to the window, not sure I understand the excitement 

Snowshoes made my morning just that much better, breaking trail while constantly sinking to your knees and hips in snow is such a joy. Followed by stepping knee deep through ice into a snowmelt creek. Thankfully snack breaks helped a bit. 

More climbing and such, and lots of fun stress about where we were going. We made a giant semi circle today and I had to keep checking because it felt wrong. I like going North, not this weird circle business. We did eventually get past the confusing bit and found ourselves in a giant basin. 

Beautiful and of course full of snow. We got a bit off track following elk but not for long. Then it was just slogging through the snow. So much soft snow, waist deep postholing is just plain lousy. 

Crossing creeks, more climbing and traversing of course (but it was almost snow free and glorious). Fun boot skiing and the typical afternoon/evening post holing mess and this time it was Nightcrawler who got stuck postholing. 

But we got a sweet campsite at West Ute Lake and made almost 14 miles today. Getting closer Silverton, getting closer. 

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