Last night was one of not much sleep. Brianna and I both fell asleep rather quickly but were woken up by midnight rains and heavily gusting winds. A tree near our tent would creek every time a gust of wind would hit, making us wonder if we had chosen the best spot for the tent.
You should always be willing to reevaluate decisions based on safety but at a certain point you also have to trust in what your eyes saw in the daylight. A lot of factors go into choosing a tent site. It could be the flattest ground on a high level, but if there is a widow maker nearby, it may as well be on the moon. Which is an odd thing to say as there is no gravity on the moon… This is how we ended up on slightly lower uneven ground, the best spots were the worst.
Make no mistake, trees are the deadliest things out there. Unlike bears and big cats, trees are everywhere and they can kill you many years after they themselves died. Choosing tree to sleep near with is kind of like picking your friends. Try to choose the ones that look lively and hope they aren’t dead on the inside.
Our morning started out better than yesterday’s. It was a dry campsite for us again (no water nearby), so we came up with a plan to have hot chocolate mixed with coffee and a stoop waffle topper for breakfast. Real breakfast would happen when we reached the first viable water source for the day. Priorities. It worked out nicely.
Making it to Mile 142.5 the night before meant that we had a 19 mile day ahead of us if we were to make it to the Oren Krumm hiker shelter at mile 161.5.
The trail was beautiful and varying with only a few spots of elevation gain and loss. Landscapes changed dramatically, everything from ridge walking, to walking along the sturgeon river and even walking through a 2007 forest fire burned section. Today made it clear that we are out of the mountains and in for a very different hike for the last few days.
Two points on the map made me worried for the day. The points show up as purple dots and mention fording a creek and fording a river. With the two mostly no rain days in a row, we got our feet wet but neither Ford was higher than ankle deep. We actually had a long hot lunch on the other side of Silver river. Just because you’re in a hurry doesn’t mean you can’t take time for the good stuff.
There was no water on the trail for the last ten miles of the day, which meant we only had the water on us until reaching the shelter. No water also means less mud, no wet feet, faster miles. Afternoon came and Brianna put the peddle down, I clocked her using GPS on the Garmin and she was averaging a 3.3 mph pace. Our cadence is to push for an hour and break. We only needed about four solid afternoon pushes. We were at the shelter before 7pm.
This shelter is the Hilton of backwoods camping. There are bunk beds, a campfire, the privy even has better toilet paper than hotels. We are so happy to be here, even happier that no one else is here with us.
Tonight is a new experience as I lay in the bunkbed writing. The mice are crawling across the screen windows like Mario in Super Mario World. It’s quite impressive. I’ve taken it upon myself to try and cover the holes with duct tape from our holes, it’s not working.