It was so hot, even overnight, that I had trouble falling asleep even without pitching a tent. I have no idea how Bill managed it, especially with Mike probably acting as a space heater in his tent. Usually, in the morning, especially before the sun rises, I don’t want to leave my sleeping bag. Not this morning. It just wasn’t cold, though it was pretty dark. None of us wanted to be caught by the high heat of the afternoon when we were only about ten miles from the trailhead.
As it got light out, I found I needed to dig a hole, so I picked a spot and hiked up and off the trail, dropping my pack on the trail so Ambrose would know that I was no longer ahead of him when he caught up. He wasn’t actually that far behind me.
And he got farther ahead of me than I expected. When I caught up to him, we took a break, and then we ran into a sidestream crossing. It was Little Ramey Creek, which we’d already crossed a few days ago, much farther upstream. The flow was wide and fast, but not so deep that we couldn’t cross. Too deep for boots on, though, so we stopped again and I switched over to crossing shoes, which until that moment, had been just extra weight on my pack. Ambrose hadn’t brought any, so he took the liners out of his boots for the crossing.
The water was cold, of course, and I got through as quickly as I safely could, knowing Ambrose was waiting for me to finish crossing so he could get his feet dry. Dry-er, anyway.
At the next break, I stopped right before I would have passed by a couple of fishermen. I didn’t want to go by strangers alone, so I stopped and waited for Ambrose since it was just about break time. I didn’t want them to see me as a woman hiking alone.
We made pretty good time and took the next break by Beaver Creek. Since we both knew the trail from there, I took off with the intent of getting to the car before noon. Ambrose also wanted to get to the car before noon but his chances weren’t as good as mine.
As I continued to walk, I started to feel the need to dig a hole again, but I was close enough to the trailhead that I decided to just press on as fast as I could. I hiked with a purpose and pretty much ignored the world around me in favor of putting one foot in front of the other. I remember pausing once because I thought I heard voices, but I hear voices a lot in the wilderness, especially when there’s water nearby. A trick of the mind and the ear.
When I got to the trailhead, I still had a bit of road to traverse. There was a backpack by the trailhead, but I didn’t stop to examine it or wait for its owner. Instead, I started marching up the hill to the pit toilet. A truck drove by and the driver asked if I needed a ride, and I told him, no, I just need the potty. It was wonderful to get to the stinky pit toilet that has an unlockable door.
And I made it before noon, just.
I settled in to wait for Ambrose. He showed up about half an hour later, muttering, “Jack. Is an idiot.”
He may have included some extra adjectives in there that I’ll just go ahead and leave out throughout this tale.
Ambrose had been hiking along when he heard shouting. Since he wasn’t in a hurry to reach the pit toilet, he stopped and looked around, to discover that a man was high up on the rocks above the trail. The man, noticing he had Ambrose’s attention, proceeded to roll a tire sized boulder down the steep ridge, nearly hitting Ambrose in the process.
It becomes clear through pantomime that the man is stuck. Ambrose directs him down, and the man still manages to slip, slide and skid his way into cutting up his legs. Once he is down on the trail, he introduces himself as Jack.
He’s looking for his dog.
Ambrose looks up, sees a dog on the trail and asks, that dog?
Ambrose proceeds to wash this man’s cuts with his own drinking water, gives the man some chews to eat and water to drink, and offers to escort the man back to the trailhead, since he clearly isn’t up to the challenges of being alone on a trail, even less than a mile from the trailhead.
The man declines Ambrose’s offer multiple times and proceeds to continue on the trail, with his fanny pack, his dog, and his flip flops.
Though who knows how long he managed to keep the dog with him this time.
After that, I drove us to the Big Creek Lodge and we had an expensive, but good, lunch before driving home.
|Yes, dark, but also, not hot.|
|Boggy little “stream”|
|Still pretty hazy this morning.|
|The trail stays right next to Big Creek.|
|The size of Big Creek varies pretty widely.|
|Ambrose crossing Little Ramey Creek|
|I lucked into getting that soft effect with this little waterfall.|
|A little climbing in the morning haze light.|
|Maybe we’ll try the Copper Camp trail some time.|
|Another stream crossing.|
|This one is too muddy to dampen my hat with.|
|I liked the rock formations along the creek.|
|I still don’t know what these berries are.|
|Some nice hiking trail here.|
|This territory’s starting to look familiar.|
|I imagined I kept seeing Mike’s paw prints, though these could have belonged to any dog.|
|Tree problems for tall people.|
|Ambrose made it!|