While I woke up in the night and needed to get some candy from Ambrose to warm up, after I ate that candy I was able to sleep all the way through until the sun started shining on our tent after 8 am. Ambrose, by that point, was already out mushroom hunting – he was encouraged by finding that one solitary morel on the first day, and motivated to find more. I made my way out of the tent and had to go exploring to find him. Once I did find him, it was pretty easy (and fun) to get involved in the mushroom hunting.

I found Ambrose – and Ambrose found mushrooms.
What a little cutie!

Now, we haven’t eaten breakfast at this point, so I did call off the fun after I found a few, in order to go and get some breakfast eaten. Breakfast was the leftover dessert from the night before, and I have to say it was one of the best rehydrated desserts that I’ve ever had – turns out letting them sit for over 8 hours soaking makes a small, but nice difference in the texture.

After we had eaten, it was back to the mushroom hunting. I think Ambrose might have thought they were going to run away 😉

Here comes the sun. 

An airplane flying low overhead. 

More morels, posed for the camera before we sliced them off. 
I saw a morel near this piece of bark and thought I might find more if I lifted it up. 
This little salamander was hiding out underneath! I covered it back up since it was still sleeping in the morning cold.

More mushrooms, some morels. 

I found the remnants of a balloon and picked up as much as I could to pack out with our trash.

It was amazing to see how once we spotted one morel, our eyes were opened to yet more of them hiding in the brush. From hardly ever finding more than one, here we had stumbled upon a jackpot.

This tree was pretty close to our tent; I thought it would make a good seat. 

My collection of morels from a section that Ambrose walked on by. 

From the right angle, the hole in the trunk is heart shaped. 

Our best haul of morels yet. 

I had planned on doing some running on this trip, but as the time approached that I’d actually have to do it, I tried to talk myself out of going on a trail run. Ambrose managed to talk me back into it – after all, I’d brought all the gear, and if the trail wasn’t clear enough to run on, then I didn’t have to “count” it as a run.

Going on a short run while on a backpacking trip is a bit different than going on a short run from home. First of all, I didn’t want to put my running clothes on at the campsite, because I still had to get to the trail and my running clothes had a lot less protection for my skin than the hiking clothes. So I put my running bra and shirt on under my hiking shirt and packed my shorts to put on once I picked a spot to start running from. Next, I had to find the trail – going off trail is fine for camping, but the trail is rough enough for running, I did not want to risk a twisted ankle running off trail.

I wanted to find the meadow that we had come up through, but I also wanted to be able to find my way back. I meandered in what I thought was the right direction to meet the meadow, but I ended up running into Kid Creek instead. That worked; I could follow it down to where it crossed the trail. As I made my way down, I found a branch suspended between two trees. I’ve seen similar things at hunting camps, but never so low – it was below the level of my shoulder. One side was tied with paracord to a dead tree, but the other side was tied to a live tree. I couldn’t let it be. I undid the whole thing and took the cordage with me, because I try to leave the wilderness carrying out extra trash. So now I had some more stuff in my bag, because I wasn’t going to bring it back to camp when I had a run to do.

I crossed the trail at Kid Creek, and then crossed the creek. I figured I knew the trail up to that point had been pretty full of downed trees; I also knew that the area up ahead had been burned before and most of the trees that were going to fall had already fallen. So I decided to run upriver, rather than go back the way we had hiked in. If I could manage at least a 20 minute run, even with stops for climbing over and around fallen trees, then that would “count.” I changed my clothes on the creek bank and decided to hold onto the bag while I ran rather than hanging it in a tree where someone else might see it and decide to pack it out.

Of course, there was a spectacular snag just on the other side of the creek, so I didn’t start my watch timer until I got past it. I set it for 20 minutes so I’d have something to aim for. Then I started running, with caution. I was right about the terrain. There were some trees downed, but not a lot across the trail. I slowed, sometimes outright walked, to get over and around them. I planned to try to get to the part of the trail where it comes down off a ridge and goes into a marsh, because I figured the marsh would be too wet and I could turn around there. The universe apparently had the same plan, because I encountered a snag too difficult to get around in a run right about where I had planned to turn back.

My total time on that run was 28 minutes, and I later measured the distance to be about 1.75 miles. Not a fast pace, but a hard run. It felt a bit like a Spartan Obstacle Course Race, because I had to keep switching gears from running to figuring out how to get over or around a log without getting too skewered. I ended up with a lot of scratches on my legs, and those stung. Back at Kid Creek, I gave my face a bit of a rinse and put water in my bag so I could take it far from the creek and “launder” my running clothes. I knew I’d have to run the next day and that if I let them sit in sweat they’d be disgusting, so I swished them in cold water and then wrung them out, ready to dry once I made it back to camp. But when I got there, and hung everything up, Ambrose was not there.

What a lovely afternoon. 

I wasn’t going to eat lunch without him so I had a snack, because at that point I needed to eat something (it was almost 1:30 by the time I got back). And I sat around and waited because I figured without knowing where he had gone, that would be the fastest way to find him. He showed up eventually and we ate lunch – he had gone to look for me, but got distracted by yet another patch of morels. By this point, we found so many mushrooms that Ambrose declared that he was done. As in, no idea what to do with the rest of the weekend, done.

Evening light on the nearby peaks.

The bear canister was stowed for the night – not in a position to roll and decently protected from rain.

The tent beckons as the sun slips below the ridge line. 

The rest of the day was passed in hanging out, dinner eventually. I read a lot. It was a calm and peaceful interlude, and while I thought occasionally about what might be happening in the world while we were out of the information stream, but I didn’t worry about it. I let all that go, if only for a few days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *