I took Friday off of work and we ended up driving up midmorning. Well, a bit closer to noon than we would have wanted, but someone forgot to get a pair of socks out of my pack to wash and we had to wait for them to dry. Not naming names.

The drive up was nice. We haven’t been up route 55 this year yet, and there were no construction surprises or reroutes going on. I was working frantically on my phone to finish writing up our last trip before we started on this one. I find that if I get behind on a trip write up then I forget everything or the trips blur together, so even though it makes me car sick to write or read while in the car, I was making myself do it.

We were planning to stop for lunch in Cascade, but the internet was down and the places we stopped at didn’t take credit cards without internet. So we drove on to Donnelly in the hopes that the internet would be up there.

It wasn’t.

But, we found a place that had a dial up credit card machine and surprisingly good burgers for a pizza place. And then we made the drive out to Kennally Creek Campground. I was still typing up my trip, but the drive didn’t seem to take as long as it had in the past, even taking my distraction into account.

Kennally Creek Campground

I wasn’t finished when we pulled up at the trailhead parking lot, but I managed to finish while Ambrose changed into his hiking clothes. Rather than spending the night at the campground, which was a fee site and tended to be noisy at night with the hum of generators and people playing loud music, we were going to hike out two miles to camp near the intersection where we would turn onto trail 101 towards the Needles.

Trail board; Ambrose registered us. 

I did a “stay close to Ambrose” pace, wherein I hiked at a comfortable pace and then paused to wait for him to catch up and then moved on. We passed a couple of women day hiking back to the campground. I know they were day hiking based on the fact that they carried very little and one was wearing flip flops.

Tiny little pink flowers.

Dusty trail prints.

We walked by a strange puddle of water that I didn’t remember from previous years. It had to have been there for a while though, because the trail detoured around it, a short hop up and over. The first mile went quickly, as it usually does. On this trip, Ambrose was “letting” me carry the food bag so I would have some good weight in my pack. He had been hauling the food up to this point because he wanted the extra weight for exercise, but I needed some practice with the weight since my solo was coming up.

Water on the trail.

Water next to the trail. 

1 mile already?

I did feel the extra weight, but it didn’t slow me down so much that he could keep up.

The second mile of the day’s journey felt longer than it ever had before. I think part of it had to do with the fact that this would be the day’s last mile. And a bigger part had to do with the fact that it was really hot out and we were hiking uphill. The only blessing was that the mosquitoes and flies were minimally active. It must have been too hot even for them.

Shouldn’t we be there by now?

Okay, not yet. 

Surely by now?

At times, I thought I wasn’t following the right trail anymore. It just didn’t look familiar. Later, I realized that I had never hiked this particular section of trail in the afternoon before. Always, we hiked that trail in early morning, or on the way back I’d hit it in late morning. Never mid to late afternoon.

When I finally got close to the intersection I had a moment of panic when I saw a “closed” sign for our next day’s trail. Thankfully, it was only closed to motor vehicles, as I could read when I drew close enough to the sign.

We arrived at our spot for the night!

The trail was only closed to motor vehicles, phew!

Ambrose ambled up and we set down our packs to take stock and pick a place to pitch our tent. I took a little sit down rest before pitching it, but I really should have had a snack. I managed to make just about the worst pitch of that tent that I ever have, and I fully blame the fact that I was out of fuel.


Still, the tent stood, and we fit inside it. So I didn’t repitch it. But I really should have.

As we sat in the tent after dinner, Ambrose heard voices. I didn’t, at first, but a little patience brought them into the range of my ears. Ambrose called out that whoever was there was welcome to share our campsite for the night. We knew there was a risk of inviting loud rowdies, but we took it.

Oh, there was one other visitor at the campsite… see him?

Maybe a little zooming in will help 🙂

Well, Ambrose took it. He didn’t really consult me first. And I didn’t really have any objections, except that additional people at the campsite meant that I had to go out of sight to pee instead of using the conveniently nearby fire pit.

And, even though I was a little bit leery when I saw the handgun strapped on the owner of one of the voices, they turned out to be fine neighbors. They weren’t interested in starting a fire or staying up late. Ambrose says one of them snored, but I didn’t notice. I’m too used to Ambrose snoring to notice additional choruses.

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