Good morning camp!

That morning I woke up early, by which I mean before the sun crested the ridges to our east. Ambrose was snoring as I got out of the tent to answer the insistent call of nature that had pulled me from sleep on a day I was supposed to be sleeping in. After I finished my business, I thought about breakfast, today a freeze dried creme brulee. I was quite looking forward to it, and so I walked over to the food bag, hanging off a tree in plain sight of the tent, and took the bag down.

I walked the bag back to the tent, put it on my side where Ambrose wouldn’t see it right away and then crawled back in and read until the sun started shining on our tent and Ambrose woke up. He spent a few minutes waking up, getting himself together while I continued to read and tried not to ask him about the food bag.

At last, he turned to look for it, and I swear he must have levitated two inches off of his sleeping pad.

“The food bag’s gone!”

He looked so worried that I didn’t leave him hanging for long. I tapped his arm and pointed to where the food bag was snuggled up against my side’s tent door. He burst out laughing, pleased that I had tricked him so well.

View of the tarn heading out.

We took our time getting ready to go. Ambrose was packed before I was, and I asked him to try out the two bungee cord arrangement we thought might work to replace his hip belt. I helped him fasten the bungee cords, and, once they were on, he decided he wouldn’t take the pack off again before we left. That flustered me, because I wasn’t nearly done packing yet. I hurried to finish up, rushing to roll the tent into its bag and shove everything into my pack.

When I first got my green pack, it would be stuffed to the brim. The pack top would be higher than the top of my head. Now, it hangs down the rear of the pack and I wonder what on earth I was packing before. I feel like I’m bringing everything I need and a few things that I just want, and yet, there’s still plenty of room in my pack – and I used to have my sleeping pad attached to the outside, whereas now I have one small enough to stuff inside.

Turning trail trash into trail treasure – and removing it from the wilderness too.

My plan for the day was to stick with Ambrose. He could not undo the bungee cords holding his pack on by himself. I had to be close to help him both for our planned stops at stream crossings and just in case he needed to take it off for any reason while we hiked. If I went too far ahead and he had a call of nature, for example, that would be pretty awkward. In a true emergency, he could cut the bungee cords, but then we’d be left with the issue of his pack lacking a hip belt again, and the cords were working much better than knotting the hip belt straps had.

It was a quick hike over to the first crossing of the Little Queens River. The morning that set out, Ambrose had briefly demonstrated an alternative method of river crossing, in case the water was deep. Instead of using trekking poles and crossing one by one, we could use each other. That demo wasn’t very convincing, so I wanted to try that method on the first crossing on the way back, in case the deeper crossing was scarily deep.

Crossing the Little Queens.

This crossing wasn’t so deep that we needed to use the method, but I wanted to practice it and get a feel for it. We took off our packs and boots and stowed our trekking poles. As the shorter person, I had my back upstream and faced Ambrose. We held onto each other’s arms and, one leg at a time, side stepped across the river. Unlike the demo at the trail head, I could feel how secure this method was as we traversed the current.

There was some awkwardness to it. We each had our boots tied together around our respective necks, and they kind of bumped into each other. I felt a need to give Ambrose one of my taffies to eat before we crossed, because he had just eaten one of his mint ones and I didn’t want to smell that while crossing. We also needed to communicate clearly so that only one of our legs was ever up at a time. But overall, it felt a lot safer than using trekking poles. I felt much calmer about the next crossing with that practice run. 
Looking back on the crossing.
We walked together down the trail after getting our boots back on and our trekking poles re-extended. And after I refastened the bungee cords around Ambrose’s hips. 
Sticking together down the trail.

Hiking in the beautiful weather.
I was not the best bungee worker, I’m sad to confess. I kept forgetting to undo the cords for Ambrose, like when we stopped for lunch and I got myself all settled down next to a log before realizing that he was standing there, waiting for me. We ate lunch after crossing what we refer to as the messed up stream crossing, the deepest side stream on the east side of the Little Queens. As we sat, listening to the rushing of water, a kind of rainbow appeared in the sky, not really a bow at all, but a wide band of bright colors in the sky. 
Greenery amid burned tree skeletons.
The rainbow stretched oddly across the sky.
Slowly, but surely, we reached the next stream crossing. It was this one that I had been worrying about, and I was glad to know that I would be crossing this body of water with Ambrose’s arms around me. I knew this crossing would be deep, so I decided that rather than get my pants wet, I’d just cross without any pants on at all. Yes, I crossed in my underwear. 
I could only walk fast if I let him get ahead of me a bit. 

Pretty flowers near Scott Creek. 

Getting closer to the crossing!
It was cold. 
But it’s always cold. These rivers and streams are snow fed. On the initial crossing, I’d felt like the water was going to carry me away. Crossing with my hands clutching at Ambrose’s forearms while his hands clutched my biceps, I never felt like the current was going to overpower us. 
We got out of the water without incident and went over to a log to get our boots back on. I dried off my legs, and got those dry pants back on. And then Ambrose made a comment about ticks. And I reached behind my back and slid a finger underneath my bra strap. I felt something like a candy shell stuck to my skin and went into full on panic mode. I tore it off and flung it away from me with a scream. Ambrose, naturally, was concerned at my display and got me to come over for a look. 
I took my shirt off and showed him my back. He said that I had a tick alright. On my lower back. 
This did not fill me with warm fuzzies. I went and got my tweezers from my first aid kit so he could remove it. He also took a second look at where I had torn out the thingy and agreed that yes, I had plucked a tick from my skin and could I please not do that again. 
All I knew about ticks was that you get lime disease from them. Although, apparently, you mostly don’t, especially in Idaho. Ambrose calmly pulled the tick from my lower back and then dug around on the shoulder area one to make sure I hadn’t left the head in when I panicked. And that was that. Except I kept feeling “things” crawling on my skin for the rest of the week. 
A tricky stream crossing. 

I’m glad there was a go around for this log, because over would have challenged my short legs. 

The rest of the hike out was uneventful. We kept looking for morels, but there were none to be found. I stifled my desire to hike quickly ahead until we reached the bridge that marked about a mile from the trail head. At that point, we both agreed that I could get going and Ambrose would be okay.

The last stream crossing – unless you count muddy seeps, which I don’t. 

The bridge over the Little Queens after which I zoomed ahead. 
I didn’t hike as fast as I could have. I hadn’t been feeling very well, and, to be honest, it wasn’t entirely bad for me to be going at Ambrose’s pace. But I did go faster up the slight hill on the way back to the trail head. 
High speed up the hill. 

Ambrose joining me at the trail head. 

We didn’t get to the trail head until after 3 in the afternoon. And we didn’t start driving home until almost 4. This, as it turns out, was a mistake for us. I was so worried about the time that I didn’t think we should stop at Idaho City for any food. Even going straight home, we got caught in the line of traffic going back to Boise and didn’t get home until after 7. I go to bed at 9. I had to shower and unwind in less than 2 hours and Ambrose and I were both getting irritable (and irritating) from lack of food.

It was nice to sleep in at the campsite, but it wasn’t worth this snippiness and lack of time to unwind. As much as I hate to admit it, I much prefer getting up at the crack of dawn so I can get home in the afternoon instead of the evening.

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