What with all the training for Spartan that I was busy with in May and June (and well, since last October, but I’m looking at backpacking months), my husband and I didn’t get many chances to go out and go backpacking this season until the 4th of July weekend. The plan was to head out on Saturday, hike about halfway to Browns Lake, then go the rest of the way to Browns on Sunday and hike all the way out to the car on Monday.

That was the plan.

That’s not how the trip went.

But that is how it started. There were quite a number of cars at the Queens River Trailhead – not quite as many as there had been for the Eclipse, but more than any other time than that. As we got ready to go, some people came in from the wilderness with something that I’ve never seen before. Pack goats. Three goats, all with gorgeous sets of horns and bright orange pack saddles. I’m still not over how cute and weird it was.

Ambrose went and talked to them; they had been up at Browns and the trail was fine, but there were a lot of downed trees.

There weren’t any permits in the box, so we grabbed one from our glove box, where we knew to preserve some for just such occasions as this. It’s a shame that there weren’t permits there to record all the users enjoying the trail over the 4th.

Told you there were goats.

I love entering the wilderness.

They put the sign back up! 

The snags started early, but they weren’t too bad at first.

Even Ambrose could walk under that one.

At this point, my new pack felt funky, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it.

A decent crossing here. 

A relatively fresh tree fall.

More detours.

The sign for the river crossing is mostly gone.

Some fallen trees obscured our usual path across the Little Queens, but it was low enough to take an alternate.

Ambrose getting ready to continue.

More snags.

Nice little stream crossing. I really need to check my lens more often for blurs.

This stream loves to get Ambrose wet – and it did it again this day.

There will be a lot more of these as the burned trees lose their purchase.

A little rain in the sunshine while I waited for Ambrose to catch up.

Another little stream crossing. A good water year.

At this crossing, a group of men and a dog came up while we were making our way across. They didn’t bother to take their shoes off, but they did wait for us to cross. 

Yeah… this is trail. 

So many fallen trees.

Some of them had paths worn around them. 


Neinmeyer junction – almost there. 

They just didn’t end.

Another deer, near our campsite. 

We camped near a tarn; not a usual spot for us, but it would work for just one night. Ambrose set about getting water while I got the tent up. There were storm clouds blowing out of nowhere and I wanted to get us ready to hunker down should it start raining. Our filters had issues, which led Ambrose to delay getting in the tent, even when it started raining.

I ended up doing the cooking, because he was worrying about water. When I got him to take a few minutes to eat a fruit smash, he nearly vomited some of it up. That was the first hint of something wrong. Well, it should have been the second or third, but I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have.
After I cooked up our Pad Thai, I did manage to get him into the tent for a little bit while we endured some rain showers. But then he was up and out again for a bit. When the weather broke a little bit, I went outside for a call of nature, willingly suffering some rain drops in exchange for not having to hold it while waiting out the storm. 
And storm it was. 
We got ready to sleep and I read aloud to Ambrose from 1984. And then the wind rose. It was a sound like crashing, like a waterfall had abruptly moved into hearing range. A rushing, howling harbinger of sound that preceded gusts of wind that shook our tent and torrents of rain. Thunder boomed and lighting flashed and Ambrose and I were no longer at all sleepy. 
I asked him if he had ever experienced something like that in a tent. He was supposed to say yes, but he said no. I was NOT reassured. 
But our duplex tent held up. It got blown about, but didn’t blow down. We got a bit of water entering, but I think that was more due to the fact that the two of us don’t really fit well in a duplex. Our sleeping pads together barely fit, and the door zippers strain. So with all of our stuff inside, it’s no surprise there was some rain coming in. But not much. 
I kept reading aloud because of the adrenaline rush from the storm. But the weather calmed down and we didn’t have any more excitement that night. 
Well… unless you count when Ambrose woke me up in the middle of the night because he was cramping up. See, he had somehow neglected to do consume electrolytes along with his water – quite unusual for him – and now he was suffering the consequences. I woke up enough to get him some Liquid IV to drink, because I love him, and then I went back to sleep, because I was tired.

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