Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 13 - going purple

As we left camp this morning, Trailbait found a large bleached bone in the area where we had been cooking. Gangles immediately called out, "sweetheart, don't touch that!", since we have no idea what kind of bone it is. Maybe femur length, and a definite inducement to get the heck out of camp.

Easy hiking today, gentle trail through a burn area, which meant it was relentlessly hot. No shade, and miles of scorched trunks gave the landscape a sere kind of beauty. We have decided to shave a few miles off to Benchmark, and honor one of my favorite Minneosotans (and a dream wedding guest, Prince, and take the purple trail out of the Bob.

This necessitated a ford described in the J Ley maps a 'waist deep' in the Spring. We vigorously debased when Spring happens: April-May in the Mid-Atlantic (where I grew up, and which forms my anchor), or June-July, which is mountain Spring. Fortunately, the river ran only to mid-thigh (or femur, if you want to make 'bones', the theme of the day), and it was a long if uneventful ford.

We stopped for lunch on the other side of the ford, opposite the currently unoccupied Gooseberry guard station. There is a somewhat comical sign on the door stating that the Dept of Ag will offer a reward of no greater than $100 and no less than $25 for any info on the vandalism of these stations. Desiring to avoid being someone's $25-$100 bounty, we quickly moved on to the ford.

We also took baths for the first time in days in the glacial but clean rivers. I actually rinsed out my shirt and socks, and feel brand new.

We are still at lunch, awaiting the arrival of Moose Charmer. Everyone else is asleep on the steps up from the river--reminiscent of the land of the lotus eaters from the Odyssey.

Swiss Miss is always quite obviously the classiest of the sobohobos for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to: a) genteel Southern accent (think a young Dixie Carter), b) tremendous intelligence and articulation (e.g., when rightfully choosing to ford in crocs to keep her shoes dry, she felt "vindicated" instead of a crasser "I told you so!"), and c) versatile yet elegant trail wardrobe you could call day to night pieces (e.g., dramatically large sunglasses, cloisonné earrings, and a strangely alluring mosquito net suit which resembles a harem outfit from '"Abduction from the Seraglio").

So now that you have an image of the elegant Swiss Miss, I'd like to point out that she's taking a nap with the other Lotus Eaters, while sleeping on a pillow made of trash: a gallon ziplock filled with empty tuna packets, candy bar wrappers, etc. Truly the height of trail Derelicte!

As we looked for camping, the options were terrible: hot and buggy. We decided at 7pm to make an assault on the pass, and climbed ~800' over 3 miles to get above the valley floor. The climb was long and arduous, but the results were worth it; it was 10-15 degrees cooler at altitude, and we ended up camping in a lovely field of wildflowers.

And chives! As we were staking out the tents, I noticed a spicy scent which reminded me of my mom's pork and chive dumplings. We were in a field of wild chives, and added a few to dinner.

Hopefully this is not the highly poisonous false chive, which tastes and smells like actual chive. I'll let you know in the morning.

Mileage: 16mi, from somewhere after Badger Pass to someplace on the purple trail

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