While we weren’t in a hurry this morning, we did have a plan. After breakfast, we were going to climb partway up a mountain and see if maybe mushrooms were hiding at a higher elevation. The sun didn’t reach our little spot until after 8 am. Before the sun rose, it was very cold, but after it came up I got hot quickly in my heavy long underwear and down jacket. 

Ambrose told me he was making coffee, but the soup broth he cooked up first was a bit of a surprise. A welcome one, since the broth was nice and salty, though I don’t particularly like the bits in the Wild Zora broth packets. We both agreed that next time we brought broth it would be pho cubes instead – much better flavor and made for 16 oz instead of 8. 

The coffee came next, a kind of tea-bag style that we were introduced to by our backpacking friend Bill. I made sure to rinse out my cup well so I wouldn’t have any soup bits spoiling my morning coffee. Ambrose steeped it well in our boiling pot and it was just about the perfect drink, sitting on a log, watching the sun rise higher above the horizon. 

Once breakfast was finished, we got our stuff together for a day hike. By agreement, I’d be carrying my pack, including 2 liters of water and other essentials, while Ambrose would be carrying the mesh bag that we had brought in the hope of using it for a bounty of morels, with the shovel and toilet paper in it for now. We had to bring the shovel on the day hike rather than a trowel because I had left mine behind once I chose to bring the shovel, and Ambrose had forgotten to bring one (which I will not let him forget until I forget something vital). 

I led the way on our hike. I had a point that I wanted to aim for, and for the first part of our trek, I tried to avoid bushy sections entirely. Bushes are hard to whack through, and I wasn’t in the mood to get all caught and tangled. 

Ambrose did very well with the climbing, much better than in prior years. I was moving slowly, but he was still keeping up even on the steep parts. I used the Gaia GPA app on my old phone to make sure I knew where I was as we ranged up the slope. 

I’d never gotten such a look at the Queens River Valley before.

Ambrose got a good picture of it too.

Yeah, it was steep.

I thought we were on one side of a small peak – turns out, we were on the other side. I used that information to decide to start traversing. We made our way over to Kid Creek, and we took a bit of a different route. See, it was while we were traversing that I started getting in tune with the animal trails. 

Because while whacking through bushes is no fun, where the deer and elk have walked, it’s … easier. Not exactly clearer, not always, but when you are on one of those animal trails, you can walk a lot faster through the bushes than when you aren’t. A LOT. 

So we were no longer taking straight line routes; instead, I picked a deer trail and followed it for a while. If it didn’t go where I wanted exactly, then I still followed it, but kept an eye out for branches going in the direction I wanted. And when the bushes cleared up, I could just skip over to find a new deer trail. 

The best of the pictures I tried to take of a woodpecker.

Ambrose following a deer path.

You can tell this tree fell recently, because the bush limbs below it are still green and leafy.

It worked really well to get us up above Kid Creek, and it worked well to get us down from that height down to the water, where we took a break. If we had brought lunch, it would have been a good place and time for lunch. In fact, we might go back there next year to camp. Since we didn’t have lunch with us, we just took a snack break and then mostly followed the creek back down. 

I climbed a rock. Lewis & Clark pose for Bill 😉

Ostensibly, I was the leader of this little expedition, but at some point after my third bathroom break (yay for pooping!), Ambrose broke off on his own and went ahead of me. 

I was confused by his actions – especially when he walked right on by our aspen grove, heading past our camp and towards the trail. I yelled over to him that I was going to the campsite, and have fun at the trail. 

That got him to turn around! 

After that, we got lunch cooked up and then spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out, chasing the shade, and enjoying being alone in the wilderness so close to a trailhead. 

He might not look it, but I assure you, Ambrose is happy to be there.

Well. I tried to chill. But for a place that was too dry for mushrooms, there sure were a lot of ticks around. And they thought I was delicious. I caught a couple crawling on me before they could bite, but I also got two tick bites that afternoon. I was NOT pleased. 

Okay, when I killed one of the biters with my vengeful tweezers, that was pretty pleasing. But the bites themselves were not. From what I’ve read, Lyme carrying ticks haven’t made it to Idaho yet, but I took pictures of the bites just in case I get a bulls-eye rash in a couple weeks. 

Cursed ticks!

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