Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
I have breakfast in Pine. The waitress says the road up to Trinity Lakes is pretty good. We'll see.
Well this road is not good. Or everyone was talking about a different road. I grit my teeth and bear it, up and up switchbacks, until I'm on 15 percent grades of rock and sand. This is not good. Then the front wheel gets caught in a ditch, I punch it to try to get over but the wheel spins and... I drop the bike. Fuck. I pick it right up out of pure adrenaline. No more, I'm turning around. Change of plans: instead of Trinity Lakes I'll be hiking the Crosscut Trail. I passed a sign for the trailhead about 10 miles ago; I gingerly make a U-turn and head back the way I came.
I park the bike at the "trailhead" -- no more than a sign at a switchback -- and get ready for backpacking.
The trail climbs steeply up a ravine, over a mountain, then down and up again. At a ridge before a big descent I see a tent, a tarp, and a few other items lying around. They look new. Maybe the owner is off doing something and will be back to camp tonight. At any rate I'm not wasting time, there are thunder storms to the west and I want to get off the heights and down to somewhere that has water before they hit.
I set up camp at the bottom of the ravine and immediately start filtering water. Just as I'm finishing, I bend over to picks something up and a flash goes through my head. What the fuck was th--ear splitting thunder answers the question. That was a close one. I run for the tent, just getting in before the heavens open up with heavy rain. It rains hard with thunder and lightning for about two hours. First time cooking in my new tent... The rain relents before sunset so I get a chance to get out and stretch my legs and hang my food up a tree.
At dusk, as I'm just about to get into the tent, a big elk bull goes running full speed across the ravine 200 yards below me. He stops half way up the ridge, looks back where he came from, then scrambles up to the top. And I'm thinking: what is that elk running away from? Bear or Blair Witch, whatever scared it can't be too far away from me. Not what you want to see when you're about to get into a tent to go to sleep in the middle of nowhere with no people for miles in any direction. To make matters worse, this burnt forest is slowly decaying, periodically dropping limbs with a crash. Every time I hear something my heart jumps...takes me a while to get to sleep tonight.
Stats for hike (Strava data):
Miles hiked: 4.6mi
Elevation gain: 1,782 feet
Moving time: 2:00:31