Friday, August 28, 2015

Day 126-128: Zeros with Miles

8/26: Lemhi Pass-Bannock Pass
Miles: 25
Total trip miles: 2360.4

On our first day off Cookie Monster, Rest Stop and I watch everyone else spinning in circles. There's a few who are actually leaving but the other 7 are taking advantage of a ride and will be slack packing. Basically they are getting a ride back to the trailhead and have set up a ride at Lemhi Pass 27 miles away tonight so they get miles in but don't have to carry 5 days of food (this is 120 plus me stretch) or some of their gear and they get another night in town.

We end up having a nice quiet day in town, no stress just enjoying the green yard and the local rabbits.

Day 2 in Leadore

Seriously debating something

The next day Cookie, Rest Stop and I are getting ready to go but I'm dragging my feet. Hiking just doesn't sound fun. Most folks are taking a zero day but Moist and Nightcrawler are getting dropped at Lemhi Pass. Which is how I end up deciding to go on my first slack pack. We hop in and get to hike South back to Bannock and this stretch becomes one day shorter.

It's a long drive and we don't get stated until after 11. The first 3 plus hours are all climbing and hot. With no breeze even with a light pack I'm dying.

Clouds finally start to roll in and we get a bit of a breeze.

We find Eleanor and Atlas halfway through the day, they vetoed the slack pack and are hiking north today like normal.

Getting cold and windy, on the bright side these are the best views we've seen in ages. Thanks weather!

We cross country shaving about 2 miles off the day and get back to Bannock before 9. Of course we fail leaving the next morning. A triple zero with 27 miles in the middle counts for something right?

Smoke blowing in.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Day 125: Leadore

8/24: Bannock pass
Miles: 2
Total trip miles: 2235.4

With only 2 miles and a 9am ride it was a lazy morning. Elf man and Mouth Gravy catch us a few minutes into the morning and we find Messed Up at the pass. Early morning chatting, 100% about food of course. Our ride appears and 14 miles later our pickup is done with the long gravel road and we're officially in Leadore. I am so glad Sam picks hikers up, that's a painful hitch to hope for.

We end up with 12 hikers by the end of the day in tiny Leadore. We hear about people finishing the trail (congrats Shane but seriously we have 600 miles left!)

Population 100, and our last town stop in Idaho, Montana from now on.

Messed Up discovers Swedish French toast is just fried French toast and after a few hours of trying First Man gives up on hitching and stays another night.

The owner of the Leadore Inn has spent the last 15 years wood carving and has a whole boxcar full of his work, it's pretty darn cool.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Day 124: Elk Mountain

8/23: Simpson Creek-2 miles from Bannock Pass
Miles: 25.3
Total trip miles: 2233.4

It was 30 degrees at 7 and my tent was covered in frost. With a little over 27 miles to Bannock Pass (town!) and my current awesome pace it would be a push to get there tonight so why try to kill myself? We've been told everything closes at 5, so screw it I don't want to hike in all my layers and drink my currently ice filled water. We don't leave until 8:30, and its glorious.

Morrison Lake is only a short climb away then more rolling road and a climb up to the top of the divide.

Smoky ridge walking, there are mountain ranges out there but you can't see them much today.

But hey instead of glowing red the sun is a normal sunny yellow today and I can actually see something. Miles of divide walking it's just rolling dirt roads out here, a few hundred feet each time but it's scenic and we even meet a section hiking couple and flip flop with them the rest of the day. New people are fun, new stories are always appreciated. There's great cow trough water which was unexpected because our maps had it as only possibly drinkable and maybe dry. Then a few miles of beautiful PCT graded climbing up Elk Mountain. For the first time in ages my limp is almost gone and I'm loving the afternoon climb.

At the top we take a break with the section hikers and meet a southbounder which makes for more fun gossip. We've been told Bannock Pass is a nasty hitch and to call from the top of the pass and the owner of the Inn will set up a ride for us. Good thing we all have different cell phone carriers, it's sprint for the win today. With ten miles left we set up a shuttle for 5 for the next morning. Now we can have a leisurely morning and not stress about hitching. Such a relief.

Hazy Elk Mountain

It's beautiful trail rolling down the divide. Walking through fields and trees and finally open prairie. Of course there are a few hidden climbs but we keep joking until we're pretty close to the pass enjoying the views and light packs. I love the day before town.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Day 123: Smoky Business

8/22: Deadman Lake-Simpson Creek
Miles: 27.2
Total trip miles: 2208.1

Whenever I woke up during the night it smelled like campfire, and by daylight it looked like thick fog except it's just smoke. What a bummer, it really looked like it was clearing some yesterday.

The morning is a mix of trail and alternates. One loses us time because we accidentally stay on a road too long and have to climb back but the other saves a few miles and I get to see pika again so a win in my book. We have to cross Nicholia Creek which for me is icy but uneventful, Rest Stop manages to sink over a foot in the mud and while I laugh uncontrollably Messed Up appears making it even better since now I have a witness. He left town a few hours after us so I'm not surprised to see him, looks like the Lima crowd is on track to all be in Leadore together and we've got ourselves a new bubble.

These suckers have been amazing, instead of constantly rolling under barbed wire fences this state lets us climb over them!

Past a few little lakes.

More smoky miles along a fence line, sure is starting to feel familiar.

I find myself climbing into a meadow and promptly losing the trail. Up on the divide it's post to post and more time walking in circles trying to find where the heck I'm going. Up down and all around at least I'm mostly on track. I finally start to really head back into trees towards Tex Creek only getting lost in a marsh once. I have a full on temper tantrum and Messed Up catches me, oops I guess that's what I get for behaving like a 5 year old.

It's late and I want to stop but Rest Stop is nowhere in sight and I realize he's gone to the next creek like we had talked about hours ago. This is one of the reasons group hiking stresses me out, I don't want anyone worrying about me. Cranky I accidentally trip and with soaking wet feet thanks to Tex Creek I keep hiking. It's 2 more miles and being annoyed I actually make great time catching up right at dark. There's already a mystery tent set up so it looks like I'll be meeting new hikers tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Day 122: Mountains?

8/21: Little Beaver Creek-Deadman Lake
Miles: 26.9
Total trip miles: 2180.9

Well we're definitely in cow land today. My map even warned me about confusing cow trails that would pepper my first few miles. Basically you're nonchalantly walking down a nicely developed trail and out of the corner of your eye you see a CDT post, oops. Most of the cow trails are in better shape than the CDT lately. A whole lot of GPS and small circles this morning for sure.

Then a good long climb, I'm feeling good even if I'm still painfully slow. Down and around getting a few more views but the ankle was starting to kill me on the slanted semi trail. The trail snakes in and out of the forest and fields.

It's all dirt roads and one last climb before long switchbacks to Deadman Lake. I'm happy and cruising. I've caved and spent the afternoon totally lost in podcasts, I'm late to the game but Serial has me hooked.

I get to the lake right before dark and find Rest Stop waiting in probably one of the nicest flat campsites I've seen in awhile. Woohoo for popular places.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Day 121: Rolling out of Lima

8/20: mile 2174.8-little beaver creek
Miles: 20
Total trip miles: 2154

We leave Lima early hoping to actually get in some miles. It's 7 miles of hazy road to start. We take a break in the shade of a bush, sitting under a bush next to a culvert and a whole mess of cow pies I'm surprisingly happy. Shade and water are always a win.

After the road my maps warn of the "roller coaster." The trail is on the divide which rolls along the Idaho Montana border and flat is a foreign word. Really we're just following a barbed wire fence, strange borders out here.

It's not true cross country because you're along a fence line and there are occasional blazes but the ground is rocky and uneven and my ankle is causing me all sorts of grief.

We cut down the ridge next to Shineberg Creek on an alternate. So more cross country, but not so bad once we get lower then even more cross country back to the trail and a campsite shortly after. On the bright side while it's still crazy smoky it's the clearest it's been this week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone