Posts Tagged ‘Mosquito’

After getting one of the sweetest hitches ever, and discovering just how tipsy two beers can make you at 9,000 ft, we started up the trail in the afternoon.  PK had mentioned a storm coming in, so we hiked just under five miles into a campsite near Craig’s Creek.  About a mile and a half in, we found Aaron taking a break reading some Thoreau.  After chatting for a bit, we continued upward and onward on a rocky, abandoned jeep road.  Andy and I had both ipod’ed this beginning part of segment 4 because we wanted to get to the campsite before the heat made an unwanted hiker hangover come in.

We got set up and I examined my pack which had loaded more weight than I found comfortable on my shoulders.  The frame support had cracked through.  Again.  This time the stay had not gone through the bottom, but rather the plastic part that it T’ed into had cracked through making one side of the waistband basically worthless.  And, to make matters worse, the other side had a sizable crack as well.  I gorilla taped it up the best I could and checked to see if I had cell service.  I had just sewed up some of the waistband padding with dental floss the night before and I was a bit irritated.  Not to mention that mosquitos kept attacking me every time I stopped moving.

I had service!  Go Verizon!  I called Gregory Mountain Products a few times until they picked up (they have this bad habit of not picking up their phone from the other two times the pack has broken), I just kept calling until they probably got annoyed at the ringing.  After explaining what happened and how frustrated I was, and I dropped the “I’m thru-hiking the CT” line, they put me on hold and then actually decided to be helpful!  Surprise!  They said to send that pack back and they would send me a replacement pack, but they had to have a concrete address and no place in Breckenridge did business with them, so they are sending one to my Mom’s house while she sent me my back up pack.

After that mess, Mike walked up!  “Don’t tell me you guys have already gone into Bailey and back!” he shouted as he saw us.  We all ate dinner together and killed the mosquitos.  I had ramen noodles without the flavoring, but with wasabi peas and peanut butter and it was delicious.

That night, we had an almost dry night!  It only rained a tad bit, and no thunderstorms!  We took a few pictures together in the morning, then we set off.  We finished segment 4 that day and got just into segment 5.  The fourth segment ascended through this large, expansive, open, valley between 10,000 ft and just under 11,000 ft.  We ran into some boy scouts getting in shape for Philmont whose adults lagged behind in the back in matching t-shirts which amused us during our cliff bar break.

Then, right before lunch we came across a large herd of cows.  Andy had been in front of me and just stopped, not knowing what to do.

“Where’d you think all that cow shit came from that we stepped over?” I asked him jokingly.

“Oh, I thought that was horse shit with diarrhea,” he laughed, “you go first.”

I slowly began walking, letting the cows become aware of us and then two decided to put their heads together in a fighting stance, so we waited for that debacle to finish.  Then I walked through slowly and non-threateningly and they let us pass through and I hear Andy narrating a video on his camera behind me.

“Have you never seen cows before?” I asked.

“Not this close!”

We ate lunch under one of few shady trees and got some water from the North Fork of Lost Creek, making sure to add extra purification with all the cows around.  When we continued, we ran into a lone cow who had an injured back leg and was very defensive to the point that it was snorting at us and slamming its front legs to the ground like it didn’t want anything to do with us, so we skirted around it through the thick brush and then it limped off.

When we reached the top, we went down a ways and entered segment 5.  We avoided the bugs as much as possible by staying in our tents, but when outside, we killed so many I can’t even remember and still I am eaten up!  That night, we had another large thunderstorm and did the ritual dry out the tent at lunch number.

In the morning, we got started through the segment, running into more mountain bikers than I can shake a stick at.  We also saw our first glimpse of the Continental Divide and the first horses!  We’ve seen so much horse shit, but no horses.

We knew we were close to a road because all of a sudden we began to see many day hikers.  As we neared Kenosha Pass, we had run into about 12 people walking about in all cotton clothing and of course without a map.  We took an extended break at the trailhead to segment 6, the longest segment at 32.9 miles and watched the people and their cars.

Heading into the 6th segment, we enjoyed the new array of wildflowers that dominated the sides of the trail and tried to avoid the mountain bikers slamming down the hill we were climbing.  We had planned on camping 3 miles in at a stream, but some locals had an intricate set up where they had driven their truck in via some back forest service roads and seemed like they didn’t want company, so we went on a mile and a half and found a sweet campsite by Deadman’s Creek.

Unfortunately, due to the presence of water, the mosquitos came out in full force, congregating between our tents and tent flies, apparently because they are attracted to the CO2 and that gathers at the top of the tent.  That night, we had our first dry night!  For once, we didn’t get a nasty thunderstorm and it made us excited to start in the morning.

On the trail at 7am, we headed up, up, up!  Up to Georgia Pass at just below 12,000 ft.  It was just under 8 miles up and I got so excited that I just kept going and going ignoring my stomach asking for a snack break until the top.  On the way, I met three old ladies in their 50s or so doing segment 6 in four days.  Super enthusiastic, they were excited to find a stream not mentioned by the book so they didn’t have to ration their water so much.

I got up to Georgia pass and ate an early lunch waiting for Andy who had wanted to sleep an extra half an hour.  Since I got up their at 10:20, I knew I was pretty safe from incoming weather for a bit as long as I kept an eye out.  Andy got up there at 11 and ate lunch too where picture taking ensued.  Four mountain bikers made it to the top as well and we all chilled out until we saw some dark clouds forming and we scampered down another seven miles to the North Fork of the Swan River where we found a semi ok campsite.

It was an ok campsite until the rain came in.  Then we got wet.  The ground seemed so saturated that it couldn’t take anymore and it puddled around our tents, soaking up from the bottom.  To make matters worse, the thunder and lightning were outrageously loud and intense.  The bottom of my sleeping bag began to get wet as I tossed and turned trying to sleep.  It even soaked through to my socks and I had to curl up without my sleep socks in the upper portion of the sleeping bag that didn’t get wet.

In the morning, the cold air hung in longer than usual and I had to create a new way to pack my bag up since so much was wet.  My fingers got so cold it seemed like winter where I had to put them in my armpits after certain intervals to warm them back up.

I was a tad bit grumpy that morning.  Setting off, we climbed up about 12,000 ft and on the other side, I found a sunny patch where I unloaded everything and laid it all out to dry.  Andy came up not too much later and did the same.  The rest of the day, we leapfrogged each other and mountain bikers seemed to come out of nowhere to startle us the last few miles.

Then we hiked down toward Breckenridge, resupply #2.  We had a bit of culture shock as the trail dumped us into an RV resort center and then out to a major road where we took refuge from a passing shower in a bus stop.  Examining the bus schedule, we realized that a free bus existed, but we should have missed it by a minute or two.

“Busses are always late,” I stated and Andy looked skeptical.  I had just beforehand given him the trail name WWF for “walks while farting”.  Just as we were about to start hitching, the bus came and we flagged it down.  I felt a bit bad for the people there due to our smell.  I had broken my previous shower record going 16 days.  Oops.

We got into town and found the brewery first, had two beers, then went to the Post Office to get the resupply, and my other pack, then to the Welcome Center to find a spot to stay.  Eventually, we found the Fireside Inn which had hostel like bunks in it and we snagged two.  Probably one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in.  I’m taking a zero today to sort through everything and mail things around.  Andy headed out this morning to Frisco where he could catch a greyhound back to Denver and then get to Sedalia to his motorcycle.  Tomorrow, onwards!

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We finally started on July 12th, Andy’s Birthday!  We stored my car and his motorcycle at Petie’s RV storage and caught a ride from there to the main road to the trailhead from the manager who seemed amused that we wanted to hike to Durango because apparently it would take over eight hours to drive there.  Within five minutes, we got a hitch to the trailhead with a super talkative and scatterbrained PhD guy who was on his way to Deckers with a six pack and two ham sandwiches to go fly fishing.

At the Indian Creek Trailhead, we began our adventure!  Since the Waterton Canyon is closed the whole year, we had to take an approach trail to the CT which didn’t take too long.  Two miles in, we met Janice, a super friendly local who regaled us with stories of other hikers she’d seen, including two who began on June 15th with over 60 pound packs and a GPS who had gone six miles out of their way.  She also gave us some scoop on a big storm coming in that afternoon.

When we hit the CT, we saw Mike walking in from the other part of the three-way junction, a thru-hiker who had also gotten turned around like the other two and went out of his way a bit.  The three of us chatted and ended up camping together the first night at Bear Creek where Mike took a nap and Andy and I killed a plastic bottle of Old Times Whiskey in celebration of his birthday.  Luckily, we managed to finish it before the thunderstorm came in.

That night, I experienced the Colorado thunderstorm where the lightning is so bright, that laying on my back in the tent with my eyes closed, I could still see the brightness of the lightning!  The thunder would crash and roll so loud, that I knew even if I put music on, I would barely hear the songs.

In the morning, we woke up and took awhile to get everything together, but we set off around 8:20am.  I caught a beetle in the empty whiskey bottle for Allie, who is taking a bug class next semester, and we finished segment 1.  The South Platte River divided the segments, where we filled water to capacity because the next water source was in 15 miles and we had to have enough to cook dinner and breakfast.

Segment 2 is dominated by a large burn area.  I.E. NO SHADE.  Beating down on us, the sun drained our energy as we climbed about 2,000 feet up to a ridge and continued on its rolling hills.  At the one shade tree, we took a break and I caught a red fuzzy over grown ant- like bug in the same whiskey bottle.

We ended up stopping due to thunder and found a place to camp on the side of the ridge.  We threw our poles higher up in hopes that if lightening did come close, it would hit the poles and not our tents.  Right after cooking, I looked over Andy’s way and a white thing fell out of the sky.

“Hey, Andy,” I said, “walk one pace right, then three paces forward.  What’s the white thing that fell out of the sky?”

Andy follows my directions.  A big grin goes across all of his face.  “I’m gonna eat it!”

“Is it hail?” I asked.

Then, before he could answer, more hail fell.  At first, it was marble sized.  Then it became large marble sized.  Then it stopped.  Andy began running around picking them up, rubbing the dirt off of them on his shorts and putting them in a nalgene since he found himself low on water.  Rumple of thunder.  The hail starts again.  This time, it came down about the size of golf balls or bigger and we rushed into our tents until it ended about 10 minutes later.  I took a video on my camera from under the tent.  Thanks MSR for making a tent that can withstand golf ball sized hail falling from the sky!

Giddy with joy, Andy began collecting the bigger ones, “I’m happier than a pig in shit!” he yelped as he collected more.

“It’s hail water!” I laughed, pun intended.

The next morning, we woke up and realized we had gotten farther through segment 2 than we thought and headed into segment 3 after passing a covenant that seemed very guarded of their private property.  I caught a huge bug near there and put that in the whiskey bottle as well as the bug I had found on the bear line, making it four bugs in one bottle.  We dried out our tents in the intense sun during lunch which soon became a routine.

When we hit the first water source, we saw a mountain biker coming with a dog, so we moved out of the way.  The biker seemed like he didn’t want to stop, but his dog jumped right into the water and laid down drinking it and looking at him like he was insane.

We continued on and met Aaron, a section hiker who had a sweet little campsite near a stream.  We chatted for a bit and looked at his “itinerary” for hiking.  Andy and I liked the guy just fine, but he seemed too attached to office life — it was planned out to a T in spreadsheet style!

We got caught in a short thunderstorm where we ducked under my rain fly and collected two liters of rain water off of it.  Then we continued on to a campsite a third of a mile before the road on which we planned to hitch into Bailey for a resupply.  When we got there, we were glad we had the rain water because the stream there was not much more than a muddy trickle.

That night, we had a thunderstorm as well, surprise there! In the morning, we went to hitch to Bailey and realized it was a dirt road.  We began walking.  We had to go somewhere between two and three miles before a nice woman with a red pickup and a horse hitch let us jump in the back of the pickup and drove us into town.

Since there was a mix up with the resupply destinations, we ended up resupplying out of a Conoco gas station, quite successfully for a gas station.  The “outfitter” there which had gear “including canisters” was also a cafe and gift shop and their “canisters” were outrageously huge 20 oz Colman canisters.  We then went to the Rusty Station for beer.

After that, we went to go hitch back, thinking it would probably take a while and we would have to go get more bear and convince some fisherman in the bar to drive us up.  But then…it came.  I will not make fun of RV’s for a while.  We got a hitch from an RV.  Yes.  It happened.  It was epic.  PK, the RV driver, even gave us each a road soda!  Awesome trail magic!

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