This day was going to be one of our easiest days, since instead of coming down from Plummer Lake, we were already halfway to Nanny Creek. Ambrose remembered the hike to Nanny being rather awful and long, but I think that’s because I was cranky when we did it last year. In that spirit, we took our time getting started. I think, for once, we were running closer to my internal clock when it came to waking up than Ambrose’s.

Good morning, trail!

We weren’t far from the next crossing of the Queens, the first of two for the day. Ambrose was surprised by how close we were to it, but I recognized the terrain and suspected it was close. But not close enough for us to start the day with our boots off.

In some ways, I wanted to go fast, but I was more tired than I expected to be, probably because of the snow traversing. And so I kept Ambrose in sight, for the most part, walking ahead and then pausing for him to catch up. The next crossing wasn’t very far and then it was just a matter of following the river down to the Nanny Creek campsite. It’s kind of funny, I haven’t actually seen Nanny Creek yet.

An Ambrose sighting! 

A few freshly cut logs, courtesy of trail maintenance. 

But I remembered enough about the trail that I was able to point out a ridgeline to him. This ridgeline seemed to be the one that would lead to Nanny Creek. But I knew from experience that it did not, and so I told him that it was the Ridge of False Hope.

We weren’t the only ones using the trail.

The sun was out on this day.

Still no morels!

I stopped at the place I’d had lunch on my solo trip, a nice pile of rocks near the river. The trail that led to that point got a little confusing. The grasses were tall and grew over the trail. But I didn’t think that Ambrose wouldn’t be able to follow it until I saw him bushwhacking off trail directly towards me. He had lost it, but then caught sight of me.

We rested there for a while and then hiked on.

A nice view for lunch.

It was some time after that that I realized Ambrose was having more issues than just going slowly for his knee. He looked like he was in pain. I asked him what was going on and he said he was having problems getting his pack’s hip belt to stay above his hips. Either he would cinch the belt tight enough to stay in place and then his legs would start to go numb or he would loosen it and it would slide past his hips, putting all the weight on his shoulders. I know from experience how much that can hurt, because I did that on purpose last year to get past some hip/leg pain.

Why, yes, that is the Ridge of False Hope on the left!

Since I knew we weren’t far from our campsite, I told him to feel free to drop his pack and I could come back and get it after we got to Nanny Creek. He looked like he was in that much pain. But he refused and said he could keep going. So I went on ahead again.

I love these flowers – western columbine I think. 

I was a little disappointed that this log had gotten the chop… 

I was hoping to wait for him sitting on a particular log that lay across the trail. Last year, in order to climb over it, I had to use a rock as a stepping stone. It was that middling height above the trail that I couldn’t step over or easily go under. But the trail maintainers had chopped it up, so I sat on a forlorn segment and waited for him to arrive.

He wasn’t looking good. And I knew we were close. I thought it would be just around the next bend. So I make a decision. I went full speed ahead, no throttling back. I made for Nanny Creek like a bat out of hell.

It wasn’t quite as close as I thought it was, but I made it in good time, took a picture to mark my time and then dumped my pack and turned around, going just as fast, maybe a little faster, to catch Ambrose and steal his pack. When I reached him, I insisted that he give me his pack. After a token protest that I couldn’t carry his pack (it being designed for a large male, whereas I am a small female), he gave it up. I had to cinch the hip belt and shoulder straps nearly to the max, but by this day, most of the food weight was gone and I didn’t have any trouble with the weight.

Not only is the fire pit ugly, it’s illegal. In the Wilderness area, fires are only allowed on fire blankets or in fire pans. 

We walked to the Nanny Creek site together. Ambrose noticed first that the fire pit marring the site was a new one. Someone had dug out the old one and then, presumably someone else had added a new one. Fire is not allowed in the wilderness except in a fire pot or fire blanket, so fire rings are no-nos. Ambrose decided he would figure out a way to report it to the rangers (and he did).

Once we were there, I set up the tent and got to the serious business of relaxing and reading. The tent spent a good amount of time in full sun and I luxuriated in the heat. Our old tent tended to get unbearably hot in the sun, but this one just got deliciously hot. Too hot for Ambrose though, I had the tent to myself and used his sleeping pad, since it’s bigger. More luxurious.

After assuring me that he was fine, and ready to continue hiking, Ambrose showed me one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. The toe next to his big toe looked like a marble had been inserted under the nail. The nail was floating on a blister, and we were both sure that the nail was a goner. Ambrose said that he would need a lot of tissues when he popped it at home. I told him he was going to be popping that thing in the shower or nowhere.

I don’t know how he managed to hike with that thing on his toe, but he did. And I had a bit more sympathy for his pace. I wanted to try and spend more time being in the dark on this trip, because it was still something that scared me. But I’d slept through the night for the most part so I didn’t have an opportunity to try and take it in. That night, I went ahead and got out of the tent to pee without waking Ambrose for company like I usually do. I could have sworn he was snoring the entire time, but he says he woke up.

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