Now that we knew when the sun would hit our little campsite, we didn’t even try to wake up before 8 am. I think Ambrose did, but just barely. The sun was shining as I came upon Ambrose boiling water for his chicken broth. I had already said I didn’t want any broth this morning, just my coffee. 

“Your coffee is next,” Ambrose said. Then he turned the heat up and the last of the fuel sputtered out. No more fire. I glared. I would be driving home; I didn’t want to do that without coffee! 

Luckily, we had the camp stove at the car (as opposed to the backpacking stove), and it would have sufficient fuel to make me a coffee. Ambrose promised to make it when he got to the car, and I grudgingly accepted that this would do. 

After breakfast, I got to work striking the tent. Ambrose had pretty much packed up, but I still needed to get my stuff out of the tent. And then we worked together to turn the tent inside out and shake out the debris that inevitably makes its way inside – not trash, we make sure not to leave trash inside, but dirt and little sticks and pine needles. 

Where I got back to the trail.

Before long, we were all packed up and headed back to the trail. On the way, I had to call a stop and find a place to dig a hole. I told Ambrose to go on ahead of me. It was possible that I could catch him, but I felt it would be unlikely. I didn’t have enough distance along the trail, and I could feel that this hole would take me some time. 

My business concluded, I proceeded to hike out. It was uneventful, and I didn’t see anyone at all until I got back to the trailhead to find Ambrose at the car, starting to work on my coffee. Now that’s the kind of greeting I like! 

We ate lunch at the car as well before starting the drive back. 

Now, it was my turn to drive. Ambrose drove out, I drove home. I was pretty happy to have navigated the Queens River Road, including that sloping part with the loose rocks that gave Ambrose trouble on the way in. But when we got to Middle Fork Road, I just missed getting out in front of three trucks hauling trailers. 

These trucks were passholes. 

That is, rather than allowing faster traffic to safely pass by pulling to the side at a wide spot in the road and slowing or stopping, they chose to stay in the center at wide spots, and even to veer over when it became clear that I was attempting to get around them. They spewed clouds of dust at us, unless I slowed to a tedious 10 miles per hour to let them get ahead. 

By the time they turned on to Swanholm, both Ambrose and I were frustrated at those passholes, and we ended up taking our frustration out on each other instead of communicating productively. I may or may not have gotten out of the car, yelling that apparently I can’t drive, and storming off into the woods to sit on a rock and cry. When I returned, Ambrose was in the driver’s seat. As I walked up to the car, he might have started to drive off. And I might have turned in a huff, figuring I could just walk to Atlanta or hitch a ride before he stopped and honked. 

Now, over the years, I have developed a high level of skill at driving on these dirt roads. But Ambrose is even better at it than I am. We caught up to those passholes in short order, despite our stopping, and then Ambrose pulled off some scary maneuvers to pass both of them – even though BOTH of them tried to run us off the road when it became clear what we were doing. The leader of the three vehicle parade was NOT a passhole; that one slowed to let us pass as soon as we drew up on it. 

At the next turn, Ambrose and I switched back so I could finish the drive. And we talked about what had happened. Why we had aimed anger at each other instead of the deserving passholes. Analyzing what led to that fight and how we could avoid its like in the future – because neither of us liked the way that felt. 

We stopped at Season’s in Idaho City to get milkshakes, and that put the perfect topper on the overall excellent weekend.

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