We got up early this morning to catch the sunrise in this beautiful valley we spent the night in. The stars were amazing when I poked my head out of the tent at 5 AM before the sun started to warm the skies. It was just at freezing when we got up and there was a thin layer of ice on the tent and the grass. We had such a hot day our first day and it was surprising how much colder it is over 10,000 feet. Chuck is not showing any signs of altitude sickness which is great but the last two days wore the poor guy out. He didn’t want to get out the warm sleeping bag this morning but he looked happy once we got going.
The first six miles of today was probably the most beautiful section of trail I’ve ever hiked. Lost Creek runs down the middle of the valley and it is so green and full of animals. We saw dozens of rabbits scurrying across the trail and also a juvenile moose off up the hill. I couldn’t get a good picture of her before she ran off but it was so cool to catch sight of her for a few seconds. When we came out of the valley we had a nice easy series of gentle climbs through aspen and then down into a wetlands area known for a lot of bear activity.
We didn’t see any bear but we saw lots of intimidating scratch marks on the aspen trunks. It was a clear sign that we needed to swiftly get through this section and make plenty of noise doing it. The Guthook comments talked about several aggressive bears that are out and about. I would love to see one but glad in the end that we made it through without any issues.
We spent about an hour at a nice water stop and chatted up a couple from Kansas City. They were battling some serious blisters and had been trying out several different pairs of shoes to see if they could get some relief. They were taking it slow with a lot of breaks to doctor up their feet but having a great time in between. We stopped around the 17 mile mark today and found a campsite on a ridge next to a cattle grazing area. Taco does not like all the mooing but it isn’t stopping him from getting some rest in the tent. While we were snoozing this afternoon, a huge golden retriever came pouncing into the tent and scared Taco half to death. They made peace in the field but it was quiet a few minutes of drama.
We have a short hike to the road tomorrow morning and then are going to try to hitch into Jefferson for a resupply. Depending on how long that takes we might need to cut tomorrow a little short on the miles. It’s nice to feel so free to do some really easy days out here. I know that Noodle is going to pick it up after we are done but I don’t think he minds the easier pace for the time being.😁