Hiking up through snow and over the pass
Course description here.
Check out the pics from my trip on my facebook page!
Luke made us oatmeal for breakfast this morning. I get the feeling that he’s not the most eager backcountry chef. I mean, c’mon oatmeal is for when you’ve run out of food. I was the first leader of the day along with Taimur. The beginning of our hike was drizzly and it was tough navigation. KG helped us out a lot with where to go, which makes my route taking look bad. The afternoon was easier because we caught a trail. As a leader I need to work on being more confident and assertive and setting a slower pace for when people fall behind. I had to poop and the mosquitoes attacked. Moss works well. I fished on the creek right below a little water fall. I didn’t even have to cast. Caught my first ever fish! Got 3 brook trout and kept 1 of them. Taimur said it was 4-5 in. That’s a let down, I thought it was about a foot long. We had a lesson on baking and everyone made pizzas. You basically mix flour, baking powder and water to get your dough and we made a sauce with sausage and onions and cut up cheese. My pizza was incredible, easily the best meal of the trip. Oliver gave a short lesson about step 1 of LNT, plan and prepare. Then Mike talked about EB. We ended up everything late and I dropped the dromedary cap into the creek at night when I was filling up water. It was super dark out and I couldn’t find stuff in the tent, didn’t change, didn’t brush my teeth and forgot to take out my sleeping bag and stuff sack before it was dark. Not a great night. But the pizza was awesome, don’t get me wrong.
I slept really well, through my alarm. Cooked good hashbrowns for breakfast, but I was super late to KG’s meeting on packing and wasn’t even ready once I got to the meeting. Today we hiked 6 1/4 miles, by far the farthest distance we’ve done so far. It was all on a well=trodden and marked trail so it wasn’t actually that hard and navigation wasn’t an issue. We stopped for lunch (hash brown scrapings, granola, dried fruit and peanut butter) on Lake Helen with a beautiful view of 3 mtns. Now we’re camping on Gun Boat Lake and we’re back up in the “lake by rocky and snowy mountains” sort of campsite. These are my favorite campsites. Washed some clothes in the water and had my first check-in with Mike. Sam made mac and cheese for dinner and afterwards will gave a lesson on LNT. KG talked about shock and I had a slice of apple cider frosting pie.
Luke made gingerbread for breakfast. KG and Mike didn’t realize we have to be in this area for 3 days so we’re spending the night here again. We hiked past Florence Lake and up Bomber Mtn. to see the B-19 bomber plane that crashed en route to Europe in 1943. It was really cool and the pieces were scattered over a huge radius. The propeller was the coolest. For lunch I had pb, almonds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and a blueberry streudel bar. Way too much peanut butter. We boot skied the way down the mtn. It was super fun. I have a theory that when my body knows I’m hiking to a remote location to poop for some reason it decides to make me poop really bad. No time to dig a hole and I smeared it everywhere trying to scrape it with a rock. Had a few LNT lessons and Patient Assessment Part 2. I made amazing fried rice with 2 things of vegetables, onions, summer sausage and jalapeño jack cheese. There was enough for almost 2 full pans. Afterward Nick, Luke, Oliver, Will and I played ESW on top of a rock with the setting sun shining in our faces. These high mtn. campsites are incredible because there are less mosquitoes, the lake is pretty, towering mtns are cool, there’s a lot of snow, the sun hits the mtns just right and we’re secluded. Nick, Taimur and I chilled and read outside as the sun set.
Sam made hashbrowns and we got to leave a little later than normal today. Sam was our leader and today’s hike was super easy. We hiked up to Florence Lake and then it was all downhill through Florence Canyon. We hiked 3.5 miles, almost all on trail and the canyon’s jagged cliffs and huge waterfall made it really cool. Everyone but Romy went down and chilled by the creek. We’re camping in a heavily forested area, the kind of campsites I like the least. There are lots of mosquitoes and it’s a little claustrophobic with all the trees pressing in. We had a few LNT classes and classes on mtn. hazards and lightning. Luke cooked alfredo pasta and I played a little ESW with Taimur, Will and Nick.
Sam cooked just awful Cream of Wheat which was saved by some Ramen noodle soup and other groups’ cinnamon rolls. We had a lesson on soft tissue injuries then hiked up to the Powell lakes. We’ve just been chilling here and it’s incredible. There’s a cool, wide waterfall, sheer cliffs on all sides, snow and a 5-star pooping spot. This was probably my best of the trip b/c of the view and I actually had time to dig a solid hole. Before I just went when I really felt the urge, but this time I anticipated it perfectly. Who knew one could take such satisfaction in a #2? We also had a fun lesson on self-arresting. We slid down a snow bank and practice saving ourselves in case we slip and fall while traversing snow. Mike gave us a compass/map lesson. Lunch was asian trail mix, apricots, perkies and jalapeño jack cheese. I fished for a while without any luck and read Nick’s book The Man Who Loved China. Super relaxing day at the Powell Lake. I made a good lentil stew with veggies, chives, sausage, KG’s fish and cheese. We’re making cinnamon rolls the net morning so I made the dough, unsuccessfully. It was super sticky so I added more water which just made it really slimy.
Salvaged our cinnamon rolls. Luke and sam got super messy and a little ticked extracting the dough and we made brown sugar bread. I forgot to add the cinnamon so they weren’t exactly cinnamon rolls. sam got dough all over my pocket knife which I had to clean off in the creek. Today was the start of hiking without KG or Mike. For the rest of the course we won’t be hiking with them. It was an incredibly easy hike today. Only 2 1/4 miles downhill and on a trail. I think they’re easing us into hiking on our own and these last few days haven’t been physically difficult at all. We had a class on river crossing because rivers are on of the most dangerous aspects of mountaineering. We learned the chain and eddy method of crossing. We’re camped near Deer Lake and saw a male moose eating in the lake. It started pouring and there’s a lot of thunder. We were able to get up our tent and fly and get everything set though before it started raining too hard. Took a little nap and we had classes on LNT, leadership and GPS. We had a bean stew for dinner.
I made slightly burnt mashed potatoes for breakfast and everyone worked on removing 2 fire circles because we were at an elevation above the legal limit for fires. Today was the first day I felt genuinely lost because we weren’t in the right location, couldn’t find KG or Mike and it was thundering out. We set up camp and the instructors turned up. I fished at 1 of the 7 Brothers Lakes and gave a class on Designated Leaders. KG gave a class o ndecision making and we had rice and bean stew and soup for dinner. Nice 1 piece d ump in the afternoon. I’m worried though because I still feel like I have to go. Uh-oh, my rhythm of every other day might get broken up.
Last meal before re-ration was oatmeal. I’ve realized that I’m not a huge fan of oatmeal and cream of wheat, good thing we have 2 oatmeal and cream of wheat bags. We had to do a super clean of the pot, pan and cup and do a tent group evaluation. We organized the food bags into trash, nomad and kitchen pots and consolidated the remaining fuel. I hiked with Mike, Nick, Cooney and Will. Today was the toughest hiking day and my most trying day. We set out for the re-ration at 10:45. We went the wrong way and instead of turning around we kept on bushwacking. We ended up navigating through an area of the Bighorns that had been hit by a fire in 1988. There were tons of dead trees on the ground and we had to tightrope the trees and saw through sharp branches for almost 3 hours. When we reached the trail we missed the turnoff and took a roundabout path. We finally met up with the other group who had been waiting for 2 hrs since 12:30. Packed up the food bags, chilled, read a little and headed back to the same campsite. This time we went the right way but I was carrying a heavier pack, I was super tired and it was drizzling. We finally made it back to camp after 8 hrs and it was raining. All I wanted to do was to eat quickly and be warm but I froze in the downpour. My new group is Joseph Cooney and Will. We made cocoa (incredibly satisfying) and mac and cheese.