Sunday, July 21, 2013
Day 34 - I would walk 500mi?
And not soon enough, since this next section is a real doozy. I think I mentioned that we have ~125 to Leadore (apparently this is a compound word, and pronounced 'lead' 'ore', in reference to mining, which seems to be a major part of the economy). This is supposed to be the toughest hitch on the trail, ~30mi on a gravel road. The terrain is supposed to be rugged as well.
Today, we had a nearo, so hiked 10mi. To start, this section certainly lived up to the hype. There appear to be no switchbacks, just steep climbs up and down. As a wise man once told me on the AT, the uphills are tough, but the downhills will kill you. The trail is pressed flush against sheer hillsides, and a spaced out footstep, vertigo or even a loose rock could be a long tumble.
Our first 8mi out were fairly uneventful, some tough climbs up and down a jeep road. We came to a fire notice, since much of the next 10mi had burned this time last year. This is not surprising, given that nearly 40% of the pine trees are festooned with bright orange pine needles, indicating death and extreme flammability. Bigfoot resourcefully used his phone to discover that the burn notice had been rescinded, and we pressed on. From our vantage point, we could see the large burned patches of trees, silvery on the hillside. Glad we were climbing in the evening, so the sun was lower.
We made camp at the Nez Perce campsite, which is supposed to be one of the nicest in this section. The spring downhill 0.1mi was absurdly beautiful, with a tiny pool created with carefully stacked rocks, and magenta wildflowers.
Though we all could have used a day off in town, the beauty of the sunset at camp made me glad we were on the trail. I love watching sunsets from saddles, where you can see the whole color gradient from midnight blue to orange filtered through tall sere pines. Lovely.
So, feeling a little anxious about this upcoming section, but will be so glad when we have it behind us.
p.s., Fond thoughts to Bearbait, who we left in Sula to recover from her foot injuries. Hope you're recuperating, and that we cross paths again.
p.p.s., Sula is a great town stop. The folks couldn't be kinder or more welcoming. Thanks Richard and Ed for the lift back up to the trailhead. Feel like real pioneers on the Lewis and Clark route.
Mileage: ~10mi from Lost Trail Pass to Nez Perce campsite