22ish miles hiked
157.2 @ 5751 ft
Beacon and Mermaid are early risers and I hear them making moves from 430am. I doze on and off and finally emerge at 630am just as some drizzling rain is finishing up. We take refuge on the porch and hang the tents to dry while packing up.
At 8am we leave the little compound and hike along the Ley alternate for most of the morning. It’s a much more direct route than the ‘official’ trail – we save 4 miles!
Rain starts up again and it is cooooold. It takes all my energy to keep moving. I find a tiny tiny spot under a tree for us to crowd under and eat some lunch, and Ia shivering terribly by the end of the break. My feet are soaked through and it’s one of those days when we are all asking “why are we here???!”
Lots of river crossings mean our poor feet have no chance. I’m walking in mini swimming pools.
Through the wet cold forest we hike, down through trees and meadows. We find another ‘alternate’ except it turns into a swamp and we have to bushwhack straight up a hill through thick vegetation and blow downs.
We’ve been swearing at F*ing Bob and his Blowdowns all day, but actually get to the entrance of the Bob Marshall wilderness late in the afternoon. I apologise to Bob and redirext my cursing at Lewis and Clark national forest. We see Beacon and Mermaid again as we take 5 and eat a few more things at a trail junction and decide on our campsite 5 miles away.
My poor muscles are hell tense from being so cold all day so I stop at the side of the trail to stretch. I’m vacantly staring ahead down the trail, then Grizzly realises there’s something staring back. A lynx! I miraculously manage to get a photo before she bounces away.
We arrive at our awesome campsite, set up tents then start a fire. Fire! Oh beautiful warmth! I stand in front of it in a daze trying to feel my body and defrost my numbed brain. We rotate shoes and socks in front, melting my shoes slightly (oops!) while eating dinner and avoiding mosquitos.
After dinner our food bags are hung from a tall tree and we dive into our tents fast leaving the mosquitos knocking at the tent door.