25.8 miles hiked, Camping @ 9921ft
Pit. Pat. Small cold drops are falling on my face somehow. Pit pit pat pat. I’m asleep but not quite and there are more drops and I’m confused and- pitter pitter patter patter pitter pitter patte- OH CRAP, RAIN!
I’m suddenly awake and realise that rain is falling through the mesh. “Wake up! Rain!” I yell at Grizzly. We struggle to sitting and try and zip closed the rain fly, except it is really dark and we can’t work the toggles. Both of us have been transformed into 2 year old versions of ourselves, with no motor skills, that can’t work out how to undo a toggle. Sh*t sh*t sh*t everything is getting wet. I give up trying to reach it from inside the tent, find my headlamp, jump outside and finally finally get the toggle undone and the rainfly zipped up. Grizzly manages a few minutes later and we lie back down in our now wet bags and try to fall back into our deep slumbers.
We wake late to a soaking tent. Why on earth we thought we would get away with an open tent I have no clue. Rain every day, without fail.
There is a large log for us to cross to get over the river, and we stop to collect water on the other side before commencing our climb up a narrow wet path. The trail is pretty overgrown, so we are walking through a car wash getting thwacked with wet branches and leaves.
The sun is out though, warming and drying. We reach the top of our climb and start following a dirt road. Turning a corner there are suddenly dozens of giant rvs, tents and cars around. Huh? We pass a taped-up sign indicating a family name, pointing towards the mele. Someone’s birthday perhaps?
Down the road another gathering of huge vehicles and another family name. Is this some weird family reunion weekend I’ve never heard of?
We are aiming for the day use area of a campground promising a water spigot, rubbish bins and a pit toilet. We find it near a highway and happily spread out all our wet things to dry on a small hill behind a picnic table. Gourmet lunches of peanut butter eaten, water containers filled, rubbish emptied and luxury loo taken advantage of, and we are off again. A short walk along the highway, we cross over and re-enter the forest on a narrow trail.
We alternate between roads and trails for the afternoon, descending to where we think we may camp but find nothing suitable on the muddy valley floor. We cross a creek, and our maps are marked saying “Confusing turn!”…and that is all. Nothing to explain why it is confusing, or suggestions as to where we should walk, just “confusing turn!”. We do get thoroughly confused, and finally see that we need to climb straight up a loose rock face. We realise this just as the sky starts to fall. Bah! Rain! Bah! A group of pines provides some shelter to wait out the worst of it, then we climb up the rest of the scrambly hill to end up on a trail hugging the side of the mountain at a slow incline. Theres a great view of the creek snaking its way in perfect s shapes through the green canyon below.
The narrow awkward footing gets too tedious so we clamber straight up the side to walk on the relatively flat top, and find ourselves a nice flat spot in front of a lonely pine, with a 360 degree view. Just as we’ve set up the tent, a storm starts exploding on the far mountain- the lightning mesmerizing against the beautiful sunset coloured clouds. It sits perfectly on the mountain top, and is blowing beautifully away from us so we get treated to a spectsculour explosion of light and colour, for once nicely dry. Coyotes come out on the opposite moutain side and yip the world goodnight -I can’t see them but their sounds carry perfectly across. Eventually the colours and the light starts to fade, the last little bits of warmth from the sun are long gone, so we snuggle into our bags and let the magical life of Harry Potter, via the magical world of audiobooks, lead us into dreamland.