Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 16 - Benchmark Ranch

We had a long hot day into Benchmark today, temps probably in the mid 80s. The trail was relatively easy, nicely graded and following a series of rivers.

In one river, we saw a pair of mule deer, belly deep in the water, cooling off. The sound of Gangles and I standing on the hillside up 100' startled the deer, and they took off, bounding through the water.

We finally made it into Benchmark this evening around 7pm, after a seemingly interminable roadwalk. The saving grace of the roadwalk was seeing the spectacular clouds. Montana has had the best skies of any trail to day, with lucid blue skies and a wide variety of shifting, fluffy white clouds, a perfect tabula rasa for a day dreaming mind. Today was filled with fanciful animals, hedgehogs, stegosauri (plural of 'stegosaurus'?), and even a genie escaping gleefully from a bottle.

We were quite relieved when we finally got to Benchmark and were greeted by Darwin Heckman himself. Our resupply box was also a treat, and thanks to our past selves, we had a box of Tastykake butterscotch krimpets, for a little taste of home.

The shower was sublime, and the highlight of the day. My first in a week. I hope to never go this long again. Splashing around in a lake doesn't quite get to the same level of clean.

The next few days to Lincoln will be wild, but looking forward to it. Tomorrow is relatively flat, but apparently, the last day in is quite arduous.

Off to bed!

p.s., A mule deer with long velvety ears was skulking around our tents this morning

Mileage: ~22mi from somewhere just past the Chinese Wall to Benchmark Wilderness Ranch

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