Thursday, August 24th, 2017
Nothing ate me last night, fortunately. Whatever the elk was running away from didn't find the need to harass me. Everything is soaking wet, however. Pulling on a pair of cold, wet boots in the morning is not an enjoyable experience. I look at all my wet gear and have a moment of panic: maybe I should just pack out, ride to the nearest city, sell the motorcycle and get a job. I decide to make myself an egg burrito instead. After that I feel better; the moment of insanity has passed.
The trail rolls along up and down ridges, through fields of wildflowers and burnt trees. This fire must have been quite the conflagration.
After a sort of mid-point trailhead at the confluence of several dirt Forest Service roads, the trail follows a creek down a ravine that hasn't been burnt. A couple of miles in I decide to pitch the tent next to the creek, better here than in a burnt forest like last night where some rotten branch or tree could fall on me. I'm going to have to come back this way so I might as well ditch the heavy gear here and continue on.
The hiking is more enjoyable without the heavy load. I'm just carry my water, the filter, and my food in the pack. I still haven't run into any people since I started hiking.
I make it almost to the trailhead at the other end of Crosscut trail, but I take a detour off on a Forest Service road to get a look at the mountains to the east. It is considerably hotter walking on the dirt road in the open sun rather than on the single track through the woods.
Someone recently rode this trail on a dirt bike. From the tracks it looks like they had quite the adventure: riding under and around fallen trees, in and over creeks, at silly angles where the trail has eroded. I wonder how long it took them. I can see a spot where they actually dragged the bike under a huge fallen tree that couldn't be circumnavigated. Chapeau, as the French say. This trail is supposed to be banned from motorized traffic, however.
I can barely keep my eyes open when I'm making dinner. All this heat and the heavy pack makes for a strenuous day. More thunderstorms with rain but today I get dinner finished and everything packed away before it starts. The rain is steady this time rather than downpours, the steady patterning on the fly of the tent sends me straight to sleep.
Stats for hike (Strava data):
Miles hiked: 13.1mi
Elevation gain: 2,566 feet
Moving time: 4:59:03