Mile 55 to 74.7 Guernsey Creek
I tossed and turned several times but I slept ok. Although, by the time I finished yesterdays post it was 11 pm and the pine cone alarm went off at 5am. Needless to say I was a tired hiker. The good news being we had a pretty easy day ahead of us. When I woke up I had to pee really bad. I didn’t want to jump out of my tent just yet since it was quite cold. I packed up my stuff and slowly transitioned everything outside so I could tear down my tent. I then ran (hobbled) to the nearest pine tree. Sweet steamy relief. I have come close to doing the Ziploc bag method but I’m still worried about holes or spillage. I’ll let you figure out what the method entails.
We finished packing up and headed back to the trail. The first 2 miles were a 700 foot descent to a creek. Before I knew it we did 2 miles. We got to the creek and took a quick break so Song Bird could take care of her feet. She has a whole system of preventing blisters. I’ve been lucky and haven’t had a single issue.
The trail went uphill a few hundred feet but was mostly an easy climb before descending again. The trail is mostly within Pine and Aspen trees. We crossed back into the Lost Creek Wilderness and shortly broke out of the trees.
We continued down hill until we came to Rock Creek. Which should have been called Cow Pie Creek. Complete with a partial cow skeleton. Just some small and scattered bones. I tossed a shoulder blade at 5 Star. We took a break and pulled our tents and quilts out to dry. The sun wasn’t out and the clouds looked menacing but there was a light breeze and it was a little warm.
After an hour we packed up and decided to pass on the cow pie water. There was another creek in a couple miles. We get to the next creek after a short climb and it is in the middle of a pasture. It is even worse. There are cow pies right on the bank. We needed water so I filtered and put aquamira drops in a liter.
We start a long 900 foot climb after the creek. As we are hitting a flat spot we run into a gaggle of people. A bunch of middle aged kids and some parents that don’t look like they want to be there. After we pass them we see a cooler. Trail Magic!
We continue the climb and Song Bird motors on ahead. I slowly fall behind 5 Star until I can no longer see him. I stop a couple times to undo my laces and pull of my left sock. I was feeling the ball of my foot rubbing and was worried about it causing a blister. I adjusted my Injinji toe sock so it was a bit snugger and clinched my laces down a bit more. You don’t want your laces too tight because sometimes when a shoe is really tight it actually causes blisters.
Halfway through the climb the trail drops 130 feet over half a mile. I used that distance to try and catch up. Going uphill wears me out fast but downhill doesn’t break a sweat even if my pace is over 3 mph.
Just as I’m reaching the point where the trail climbs I see 5 Star. I see him pass a sign post and start to time how long it takes me to get there. 3 minutes and 7 seconds later I’m there. I do this a lot to help pass the miles.
About half a mile from the top I round a corner and see Song Bird sitting on a log talking to her husband. As I pass by she points out a pine tree decorated with ornaments.I keep walking and feel a fine mist on my legs. Within a minute I have to pull out my umbrella as it is starting to rain pretty good. I see 5 Star in the distance putting on his rain jacket. I reach the top and pick up the pace so I can catch up to him.
By this time it is raining pretty good and quite cold. It’s 2 miles to the Kenosha Pass campground where we planned to take a break before doing another 3ish miles. The descent is mostly in Aspens which don’t offer much in the way of coverage from the rain. 5 Star mentions we should check to see if we have service and if we could somehow get a pizza delivered. Would be nice but the closest town with anything is 20 miles down the road.
We get to the campground and it thankfully had stopped raining a couple minutes earlier. 5 Star uses the pit toilet while I wait for Song Bird. She walks up while he is in there. She walks over to get a picnic table while I wait for 5 Star.
After he is done we walk over to the table which is surprisingly dry. The second I sit down the sky opens up again. We decide to be hiker trash and huddle up under the overhang of the women’s pit toilet. We are there for a few minutes when a truck with a camper on the bed rolls up. The guy gets out and says “couldn’t you have found a better place to sit then under a shitter?”
He offers for us to hang out in the back of the camper. 5 Star asks if there is a pizza place that would deliver. The guy didn’t think so but he would drive us down the road to Bailey if we wanted. He said it was an easy hitch back. We all look at each other and shrug. Why not?
We head to the back of his camper to throw our packs in the back when I notice the Appalachian Trail symbol tattooed on his calf. I ask him if he hiked the AT and he said he did in ’03 and ’04 and hiked the PCT in ’07. His trail name was D-bone. That relieved me a bit but he still seemed kinda strange. While riding to Bailey he talked about his hikes and how he dropped acid in Washington. He tells us how he hates the movie Wild. Except that Reese Witherspoon shows her boobs. He liked that part. As he’s driving he is spitting into a coffee cup. The truck was also full of random shit.
We safely make it to Bailey and D-bone drops us off at Cutthroat cafe. We walk in the tiny place and sit by the entrance where we can set our packs down. There was also a power strip so we could charge up. I order a Chicken fried steak with pork and get fries, green beans, and a salad. It was so good. Definitely hit the spot.
We sit there for awhile charging up and waiting for the rain to stop or ease up. 5 Star and Song Bird split a slice of chocolate cake. It is like the cake you get at Costco. That chocolate cake is super rich and even a small slice makes me sick.
330 rolls around and we had been there for about an hour and a half. The cafe workers are all high schoolers. There is about 7 of them (including the cooks) just hanging out talking since it isnt too busy. Only 4 other people are in. We decide that Song Bird should go up to the girls and offer $20 for one of them to drive us back to the trail.
A girl named Charly says she’ll take us. Awesome. We walk to her SUV and toss our packs in the back. In the back is already a horse saddle. She does barrel racing and her brother rides bulls. She drops us off at the trail and it is, of course, still raining. The forecast for Bailey showed rain for the next 3 days. Great.
I get my pack situated and bust out the umbrella. The trail heads up for about 400 feet and then gradually drops to a creek and big meadow. I lead the charge up the hill and feel great. I finally have a good meal and calories in me since I have been worried that eating too much will make me sick again like on day 2.
We pass a teepee made out of logs against a tree. I stop to collapse one trekking pole so I can carry my umbrella easier. I was holding both in my left hand and it is quite cumbersome. 5 Star and Song Bird said a meandering pace would be great. They said they were digesting all that food and there stomachs were rumbling. I told them it was the cake.
Just as we are reaching the high point we come to a guy hiking the other direction. He has on an old school external frame pack. Very heavy. He says he left Breckenridge 6 days ago and it has been non stop raining. He looked like a broken man. As we walk away we scratch our heads about how he has been on the trail for 6 days. Breckenridge is 30 miles away. Less than 2 days away. 3 days max.
We come around the corner and can see where the trail drops down to a tree covered creek and a flat meadow on the other side. We hustle down past the creek and find a good spot in the meadow to set up. I quickly set up my tent, throw my pack in, and get set up inside. By this time it is raining pretty hard and is quite loud on my cuben fiber tent. Most modern tents are made out of silnylon which has some stretch and can hold a bit of water. Cuben fiber is this extremely light weight material that is very taut and water rolls right off it (mostly.) So it is similar to rain on a tin roof. Noisy.
It is 515 when we set up and as of now at 730 it is still raining. And I have to go pee.