Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day 157: Benchmark and the Bob

9/25: West Fork South Sun River
Miles: 22
Total trip miles: 2762.7

We sped the first few miles I the cold shade of the valley. Soon enough we turned off the trail and headed towards Benchmark Ranch and hopefully our resupply boxes. We had mailed boxes to this remote ranch back in Anaconda. It's a good setup for thruhikers, only about 1.5 miles off trail instead of hitching 30 miles on a dirt road to Augusta.

A little airstrip walking before benchmark

The salt lick at the ranch is better than TV

A handy porch and thankfully our resupply was safely waiting in the bear box out front. We repackaged and even snagged a ride back to the trail, the owners aren't usually there but we lucked out.

Then it was on to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and for the first time in ages we saw other people. We even got warned that we were in for a heat spell, 85 degrees sounds nicer than 50 so I'll take it.

I've been hearing about the Bob for ages, we're finally closing in on Canada.

As we walk through more burn there is an impish creaking and a tree falls a few feet in front of us, yay?

More bridges, always nice to keep my feet dry

That is a big bear right in front of me

It's a long afternoon and I slow down in the heat with my newly heavy pack. With aching feet (seriously shouldn't you be used to this by now feet?) I'm more then happy when we camp.

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Day 156: Bear prints and burns

9/24: 5ish miles to the Benchmark Intersection
Miles: 28?
Total trip miles: 2740.7

Within the first few miles we pass at least 9 piles of bear a at, guess we found a thoroughfare?

Soon enough we're headed down and after yesterday's dry miles today is the opposite with creeks and rivers every which way.

I'm loving the colors but definitely pretending it's not as cold as it actually is these days.

A slight detour but hey getting a little off track means you find guard stations with the perfect porch to nap on.

It's a long day, it looked easy last night staring at maps but it's been all slow rolling mini hills and walking upstream. Plus I think I'm still beat from yesterday. Of course the trail is headed up and over that.

We finally top out and after Straight Creek Pass it's no more upstream walking just a steady trek down through more dead forest.

But somehow in the midst of it all were these plucky little flowers, see it not winter yet!

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Day 155: Rolling out of Lincoln

9/23: Rogers Pass-2756.8
Miles: 23.1
Total trip miles: 2712.7

The hike out of the pass was lovely switchbacks even if I was already griping about my heavy pack.

The views were just getting better as we started rolling up the mountain.

I was super excited about this hurt, unfortunately it was on trail but locked so all I could do was sadly stare in the window at its coziness.

The aspen are blazing down I the valleys.

Up down and all over the place but look more Lewis and Clark time.

Trail signs? Who needs them, these small inconspicuous cairns followed us for a bit up the mountain.

Okay I'll admit it, I wasn't sure why you'd hike much up here but after huffing and puffing over the rolling mountains I'm getting it. It's kicking my butt today but it sure is worth the views.

So many dead trees, fire, beetle kill, weevils and who knows what else.

We dip down magically into forest for a quick minute. There's a bone dry lake but my maps come through and Ley is right again. We go off trail up a dry creek to find glorious water, yes I carried 4 liters most of the day because it was potentially 30 dry miles but after last week I'll suffer the weight just in case.

Down and bank up, but the water was worth it.

It was starting to get cold and the wind whipped us down into the dead trees, but look how far we can see!

Sunset is gorgeous and we somehow lucked out and are in a nice basin protected from the wind.

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Day 153-154: More Lincoln Time

Miles: 0

And of course one day off became two, but at least it was mostly because I had to deal with back to the working world internet things. And hey, we did get this sunset.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Day 152: Road Walking

9/20: Lincoln again
Miles: 19
Total trip miles: 2689.6

Just because I didn't walk into town the official route didn't mean I didn't want to walk back to the trail and it was only about 19 miles on highway 200. Squarl and Rest Stop suggested the slack pack, why not walk and then hitch back into town? At the last minute no one else wanted to come but they did have the great idea of hitch in to the pass and then just walking straight back into town.

Lots of pretty cars all day because of the car show this weekend. Unexpected distractions aren't bad.

I got a ride up to the pass within the first 5 minutes and I wasn't even trying. They just pulled over because apparently I looked like I needed a ride. Thanks Rogue River raft guides, you made my morning.

Right after the pass, yikes.

Then it was miles of road. The first bit prettier than the end but a good day and change to just listen to my own thoughts. Walking against the crazy wind on a gravel shoulder, I'm going to miss even this. About 250 miles left and it's getting awfully late I the season.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Day 151: Bail out

9/19: Lincoln
Miles: 27ish
Total trip miles: 2670.6

It's cold and windy and I want water so no dilly dallying this morning.

The morning is big views and the wind trying to blow me off the divide.

Warm yet? My map says there should be water down an old 4x4 road in a drainage about 8 miles from where we camped. We head down and find bone dry rocks where the map says our stream should be, we go a little farther but no luck (turns out if we had walked maybe 5-10 minutes more we would have found water). It wasn't pretty, I had a melt down crying in the grass, I have never run out of water like this and hadn't been eating enough in the cold, clearly a great combination. The next water is only about 4 miles farther so we start hiking again. I'm really doing okay it's just mentally beating me to a pulp, coping skills don't seem to be my strong point this morning.

I did not drink from this mud puddle, but I did drink from the one right before it and honestly it wasn't bad except the color. Morning clay intake is good right?

Scenic trail finds

The most beautiful spring, 2 pm
and I couldn't be happier. The maps warn of seasonal water up ahead and not much else. We look at the maps and come up with an alternate. We can walk straight to the town of Lincoln and then back up to the trail at Rogers Pass it adds something like 8 or 12 miles but right now it seems worth it to walk along creeks all afternoon.

This road is beautiful and it has a creek, I couldn't be happier.

A pretty sunset walks us into town, my feet are killing me and it's hard to do more than just collapse on Holly and Squarl's hotel room floor. They did the exact same thing as us and took the road into town.

That was one emotionally exhausting day. All the hotels are full, there's a car show in town so floor it is, and it sure is a great floor.

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