6/22/17 – How Not to Cross a River
Miles: 1,347.78 to 1,367.17
Total miles hiked: 783.32
Two months on the trail. Time flies here. The day started with the usual alarm ring at 4:45 a.m. Most of the morning went in an ordinary way, we packed and ate and started hiking. The first few miles went well. There was an uphill which we completed in the cool morning air and a short downhill section where the trail was not as pronounced and we nearly missed a switchback but otherwise it was an easy hiking. Until we reached the river.
The river was wide and deep and running too swiftly to ford. We had to find another way across. We didn’t have to go far. There was a fallen tree, decently wide from shore to shore and most people walked across it and were on their way. I could not do that. The log was high in the air and bellow the current raged and I felt dizzy every time I attempted few steps past the shore.
We looked for a different log to cross but it soon became obvious that that one is our only reasonable option.
I decided to scoot on my butt. It worked and I safely and somewhat comfortably made my way across 3/4 of the river. Then there was an obstacle I could not easily scoot by. I saw another log wedged underneath the one I was on and it seemed like a good idea to drop on it and walk the few steps to shore.
It was a good idea, until Dave stepped on it too and the log rolled sending us both into the cold water.
We were drenched but luckily we were past the strong current and we easily made it ashore where we ringed our clothing and continued hiking. The sun was rising and the air was already quite warm and even though we were chili, we knew we would dry relatively soon.
After the river, we started hitting snow. Small patches at first, then larger ones. Most of them were easy to navigate through but couple three us into a blowdown which made route finding tricky. Dave phone took a swim in the river and did not work and without workable gps we slowed down, making sure we were on trail. Later a group of three caught up with us and together we made it through the snow maze. All together we had snow for about 7 miles, about 4 of which were quite solid. Wet shoes were not completely pleasant on the snow and for a while my feet got cold to the point of numbness but in the end everyone got the same deal when we arrived to the second river. There was no log to cross on and since this stream was much tamer, we were able to safely ford it right at the trail crossing.
Later on everybody regrouped by a nice lake where sun took care of finishing our drying processes. Our clothing was dry by then and it was nice to take the wet shoes off giving them a chance to dry.
The snow travel and route finding ate chunk of our time. It was 2:00 p.m. when we left the lake and we still had 12 miles to go. The terrain was forgiving. Flat mostly with a long downhill at the end. The heat was not forgiving at all. We walked through a burn for several miles where the sun could beat on us freely and my energy dropped with the heat. I could not regain it even after we entered a forest that offered some shade and I crawled to camp completely exhausted. We made a good time still, 20 miles by 5:30 p.m. was respectable for a high in mid nineties and prolonged snow travel but I was so tired that I needed nap before I could complete my evening chores.
The heat seems to be following us lately. Maybe eventually I will get used to it.