Saturday morning was relatively dry, at least when I woke up. There were clouds in the trees, and clouds obscuring nearby ridges and far away mountains. Clearly the kind of day to hole up in the tent.
Ambrose cooked us up some breakfast, and we both had to leave the tent to answer nature’s call before the rains came back.
The tent was not the most comfortable it’s ever been, not because of the rain outside but because of the moisture accumulating on the inside of the tent from the condensation of our breathing. Every time I sat up, my head would get wet. Or whatever I had over my head at the moment, my hood or my balaclava.
Rain fell on and off through the morning and afternoon. When it rained, we stayed in the tent, and when it stopped, we left if there was a need. But mostly we just spent the time cozied up in the tent. Staying warm and hydrated as best we could. I filmed a few minutes of rain falling on the tent roof, but I can’t upload them here because the files are too big 🙁
I debated putting on my day clothes and decided I’d rather just keep my night clothes on. I wasn’t going to be hiking anywhere, and the night clothes are just so warm.
I did take off my heavy layer in the afternoon when the sun broke through for a brief while, but I basked in the warmth, while Ambrose enjoyed switching over to day clothes. He also made some forays around our campsite and found a single morel mushroom. He left it, figuring we’d see more the next day.
The nice afternoon didn’t extended into the evening, and we were back to clouds as the sun sank down below the ridgeline. We had a quiet evening after eating dinner, with periodic rains.
The next morning, I woke up way too early, and I felt cold. I ate some snacks, and tried to get warmed up, but I was already wearing all my warmest clothes. There wasn’t much more I could do. And there was copious condensation inside the tent, which was unpleasant.
I read a bit and thought about how to get warmer. Ambrose finally caught on that I was not comfortable and I admitted to being too cold. I thought maybe we could wait for a break in the weather or later in the morning when it might be warmer to head back to the car a day early.
Ambrose pointed out that it was only going to get colder and we should head out as soon as possible. I had to go dig a hole, and when I came back, I couldn’t agree with him more. Nothing like being snowed on in May to convince me to head back to the car.
So we had to get all packed up, while trying not to get too wet in the slushy snow that was falling. Ambrose valiantly volunteered to swap the food bag for the tent, which meant that I could get all packed up inside the tent, while he would have to finish packing in the rain – and carry out a soaking wet tent. I was very grateful, even if the food bag did weight a bit more than the tent.
We got down to the business of hiking pretty quickly, and made our way back to the trail. From there, it was a simple matter of following the trail back to the car for two miles. Right?
Well, not quite. See, on the way out, we’d done a boots off crossing for a particularly swollen creek. Now, when Ambrose did his quick hike to get a sleeping pad, he’d discovered that there was a possible log crossing, but he expected the log he used to be underwater after all the rain we’d had. And so our plan was to just hike through the creek with our boots on, and finish the hike in wet boots.
On the way back to the trail, Ambrose showed me where he had found the morel, but it was now gone. Most likely some animal had eaten it. So our morel haul for the year was zero again, sadly.
Once at the trail, we hiked quickly. The snow faded back to drizzle as we reached lower elevations, but we could see snow capping nearby ridges (far ridges were completely obscured by clouds). Before too long, we came upon the creek crossing. Oh, I didn’t want to do it!
Ambrose went through first, right into the cold water. I lengthened my trekking poles, possibly as a delay tactic, and then squealed in anticipation before I made the plunge.
So cold. And the water was flowing very fast, coming up to my knees and pushing me downstream. But it was almost worse when I got out. My boots were soaked along with my socks. My gaiters somewhat protected my pants, but I was just wet. I had to keep hiking at a good pace just to keep warm.
The next stream we had originally crossed on a log, but now we just went ahead and walked through it. The log was slick with rain and we were already soaked anyway.
I’m so glad that the hike was short. We reached the trail head before too long and split up. The plan was that I would go to the car while Ambrose went to the pit toilet. I got in the car’s backseat, which was folded down, and changed out of my wet clothes as fast as I could, knowing Ambrose was waiting in his wet clothes for me to bring him dry ones.
It felt so good to put on dry clothes!
I drove over to the pit toilet and backed the car up to it so Ambrose would have easy access to the trunk. He got his clothes and changed in the shelter of the pit toilet. Then we boiled up some water to make a meal before we drove home, Peak Refuel Biscuits and Gravy. After the cold hike, the warm food was perfection. Before too long, I was ready to start the drive home.
I was actually pretty nervous driving through the rain, but it was nice that Ambrose trusted my driving enough to nap as I navigated the twisting, narrow dirt roads.
|Clouds in the forest.
|The mist ate up the views.
|I couldn’t get enough of those low hanging clouds.
|Ambrose took advantage of a break in the rain to look around.
|Even the small stream near our campsite was swollen.
|Time to get outta here!
|That’s a lot of water.
|Ambrose in the lead.
|Oh that water was soooo cold!
|Higher elevations clearly were getting snow.
|The water level of the Queens River was actually lower than when we hiked out. I theorized the cause was freezing temperatures at the higher elevations reduced water flow – a bit.