Thursday, August 27, 2015

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.

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