108 miles hiked
Road. Jeep road. Jeep road full of rocks. Rough lava rocks, smooth brown rocks. Jeep road full of rocks in the sun. Life is this road. The road goes up, the road goes down.
Interlude at Wet Beaver Creek, down in a canyon with the deep water and the dappled shade. I cross the creek but the trail on the other side is obscured by tangles of downed trees, washed there by the high water. I end up in a side drainage, wading through a still aquamarine pool up to my waist. Wait am I pushing my way through a tangle of poison ivy? Who’s to say. I reach the end of the pool and draw myself out, scramble up rocks and brush, pop out at what is actually the trail.
Road. Jeep road. Jeep road full of rocks. Junipers, silt grey cattle ponds, cow patties. Sitting on the ground eating chips surrounded by cow patties. I don’t even care. Sun.
Every seasonal water will be there, this time around. This is what we have learned. At the end of the day there’s a note in the data book: Decrepit cabin. May be pools of water in the nearby drainage. It’s late afternoon and the angle of light is long, the angle that comes in under your hat. The angle from which there is no escape. I’m not carrying any water- I drank the last of my mint tea an hour ago. It’s not hot, the road is chill if rocky and slow. I’m only a little thirsty. I don’t want to stop at the cattle ponds. Possible water in the drainage.
Our feet are beat to shit from the rocks. It’s the golden hour when we see it- the old cabin, full of ghosts. A collapsed shed. A corral made of sticks and wire. I can hear crickets. Crickets! We walk through the corral to the drainage beyond. Peer down into the cloven earth. It’s strange in there- like black lava just stilled. And on this flat coarse rock are pools. Many pools, shallow and deep, large and small. Pools of water. Good water!
We pitch our shelter in the grassy meadow next to the cabin, kicking cow patties out of the way. There are mosquitoes here, and I’ve been having trouble with the zippers on my zpacks duplex- they’ve been sticking a lot, and doing that thing where the teeth won’t join together, leaving big holes. Usually I can fiddle with them until they close, but tonight they just won’t. Then Muffy has a brilliant idea- what if we lubed them? We use a bit of the comfrey salve I packed (altho olive oil and vaseline would probs work too, both of which I have), running it along the length of the zipper. Then, suddenly- they work again! No sticking. Smooth like butter. As though they’re brand new! Shit, I think. People should know about this trick. Those zpacks zippers are notorious for sticking. So there ya go. Spread the word! Lube your zippers, hikers of the world!
I’m using these blog posts to help raise money for Francis, an El Salvadoran refugee who is raising funds for an asylum appeal. You can view his fundraiser here.
Francis’ fundraiser is currently at $1,750- day 9 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $1,800. Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀