To see pictures from the trip go here.
I made hashbrowns for breakfast. Not my best work, but still tasty. Oh, by the way, Mike says we probably hiked 10 miles yesterday. Today we hiked back to the same campsite by Powell Creek. We played “Big Booty” while walking, crossed 3 rivers, hiked 6 miles, endured the fog and light rain and my back hurt for the first time this trip. It was really frustrating because it was at the very end while bushwacking and I needed help from the other guys to make it over a log. I hate how pain, yet manageable pain and frustration makes me not able to control tears. It was raining when we got into camp and I’m moving pretty slowly. Things are looking up though because it stopped raining and we’re making hot drinks. I had peanut butter, honey roasted peanuts, almonds, something similar to chex mix and dried cranberries. Ah… we made a ton of cocoa. I started Our Story Begins and I like it a lot so far. Will made the worst dinner ever. He boiled water and put pasta in. Then he opened up the cold can of tomato paste and strained the pasta. It required the most meticulous planning and was terribly time consuming. I met with Mike because Oliver and I are leaders of the day tomorrow then I went to bed around 10. Zipping up the sleeping bag all the way makes me nice and toasty. It’s amazing how quickly my mood turned for the better.
Woke up at 5:41 AM because we have a long day. I made some pretty good couscous for breakfast. We left an hour late at 9. I could barely feel my toes. We bushwacked, crossed Powell Creek, walked up Medicine Cabin Park, up Florence Pass, down past Gunboat, Florence and Mistymoon Lakes, along Paint Rock Creek, past Lake Solitude and then after following P.R. Creek for a while and crossing it 1 last time, (6 river crossings total) arrived at camp. It took 8+ hours and was about 9 1/2 miles. Walking through Medicine Cabin Park was my favorite because it was sunny, breezy, we had a river to our left, trees on the right and snow capped cliffs behind the stream. KG gave everyone candy bars at the culmination of our hike and I had a delicious Snickers with almonds bar. Joseph is cooking rice right now. Romy gave me the good advice of waiting up for Will and the people behind him when I’m leading. I felt like I did well as leader of the day. Joseph Cooney made good fried rice with onions, garlic, sausage and peas. KG told us a funny story about a counselor pretending to be a ghost and we got a new assignment on flowers. It is incredibly cold at this campsite. Pooped today.
Coldest morning on this trip so far. There is frost everywhere and my boots and socks are frozen solid because I left them outside. Cooney made really good sugary oatmeal scones. Once again we left an hour late. I had to smack my boots against logs to get the ice off. We hiked 5 miles today, which felt like much less because of the length of our previous hikes. there was a ton of deadfall on Solitude trail that we had to walk around. The trees that got uprooted were massive; the mud at the root base was twice as long as me for some trees. We got into camp on our own and nice and early. Was able to dry my socks for the first time in so long. Don’t think my boots will be completely dry though by morning. I took advantage of a little sunshine. KG says there’s no summer in the Wyoming mountains and I agree. It’s rarely clear and sunny for a whole day and is never that warm. I mean, it was well below freezing last night. I made pasta with a thick sausage, cheddar, onion, garlic, beef broth, vegetable sauce for dinner. I gave a presentation on the Indian Paintbrush flower and Mike gave a class on Communication. We played some fun games called “Bang” and “Hi-yah.”
Everyone woke up early because KG and Mike threatened to take away our rock climbing day if we left late again. Will made oatmeal. Our hike today was 4 miles and it felt like a breeze because of the difficulty of previous hikes. We’re camping in a high mountain lake spot near Lake Elsa. When we arrived I had to poop so bad I couldn’t even get into a squat; I dumped the initial load standing up. After eating a little snack and warming up with a hot drink I’m perched way up on a rock looking down on Lake Elsa. I have cocoa in my Nalgene pressed against my tummy, a light wind in my face, a beautiful view and plenty of down time. Once again, lake mtn. camp spots come through. We had a class on rope tying for rock climbing tomorrow and learned the basic figure eight, the figure 8 follow through and the flemish figure 8. Cooney made falafels, a little too strong for me. Everyone was super relaxed because we had no meeting after dinner. This campsite takes over as my favorite. I had a ton of free time to read, the weather was nice, it’s a high mtn. lake campsite, the moon was super bright and the sky was a beautiful pink and the lake a pale purple as the sun set. My idea of sleeping sans fly got shut down.
I woke up at 7 with Nick because we’re making oatmeal hotcakes. I’m glad we put the fly back up. I read the mag The Week as the mixture sat. They weren’t nearly as good as oatmeal scones. Everyone fished down at Lake Elsa and everyone caught at least 1 fish because it’s been super easy. I’ve caught 5 so far. I think the oatmeal and my cocoa gave my the problems because i had a little diarrhea. Now I’m just chilling by Elsa reading, writing, relaxing and fishing. I went rock climbing and climbed 2 routes. I was 1 of only 2 people who made it up the hard route and good climbers didn’t make it so I felt proud. I washed in the pond / lake we’re camped by and a bunch of people jumped in. Nick spotted 2 baby birds that were cute and plump. KG gave a class on Risk Management. Cooney, Will and I all made pizzas and I made mine with a ton of jalapeño jack. It turned out really well and Taimur liked it a lot. Will and I are LOD tomorrow so we wrote up a Travel Plan. It’s super short but off trail and my map reading is still a little shaky. Oh, yesterday and today were awesome, relaxing and fun-filled days with great weather and food.
Cooney made good brown sugar and almond rolls this morning. They were so doughy on the inside it was almost cheesy. Yummm. Then we had our last lesson on Patient Assessment. I was lOD and hiked with Romy, Sam and Oliver on our shortest distance hike. We hiked around 2 miles because of permit restrictions and are camped near an unnamed lake. We chilled by Rainbow Lake for about 2 hrs and 15 min. and busted out the frying pan and made popcorn and sugary nuts. I fished for a while and got a few bites but didn’t catch anything. It’s hard for me to tie the fly to the reel so I always end up frustrated. Then we had just a 15 min. walk up to our campsite where it took a while to find a place to pitch our tent. I did some map reading with Mike and we had a class on heat illnesses and kG taught us a song in Swahili. Will made beans for dinner. It rained a little and was super windy. Since we have a long off trail hike tomorrow Taimur, Will, Cooney, Romy and I all wrote up travel plans in our tent.
We had a 6 mile hike off trail today. It was our first long hike off trail in a while so it was a challenge. Taimur led and the group did a great job of navigation. We gained 600 ft of elevation passing 2 more unnamed lakes, walked along a ridge and downhill along a stream and through a forest until Cross Creek Reservoir. Then we walked along a 4WD road, caught a trail to the bottom of Bighorn Reservoir and back up the stream to our campsite. Everyone sat around a rock and talked and played cards and then I cooked bulgur with rehydrated peas and carrots, onions, alfredo sauce and monterey jack cheese. It turned out a lot better than I thought; it tasted like brown fried rice. Then we had a meeting where KG told a story, we talked about Paul Petzoldt, Nick, Sam and Oliver did a dance, KG taught us a Kenyan “cata” dance and we played a game called “Moose” and “Bang.” It was a fun day.
Cooney used the rest of the flour and everyone got 2 huge cheesy biscuits this morning. We divided up the food bags and cleaned the utensils and then had a tent debrief. Joseph said I was just fun to be around which made me feel good. We hiked on a 4WD to our campsite then hiked back to the re-ration place. This campsite is our least authentic so far because there are lots of people around. We played cards with myself, Nick, Luke, Taimur and Oliver until Brandon came. We played a game like “Uno” and a game called “Oh, hell.” We’re camped near a stream with a bridge and we chucked a bunch of planks of wood into the water and tried to destroy them with huge rocks from above. I was laughing so hard my eyes watered and it was so perfectly simple and primitive. I made really good gado-gado pasta with some hamburger meat from KG. Will built a fire which everyone gathered around and we all told stories and played 2 truths and a lie. It was the first fire we’ve made this whole trip. Really fun night.