Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Backpacking Trip -- Numero Dos

We started the summer off with a backpacking trip so it seemed only right that we end the summer with a backpacking trip also.  We returned to the Trinity Alps and set off to do the North Fork to East Fork Loop.  A 5 day, 4 night, 27 mile escapade.  Did we complete it?  NOPE!  Want to know why?  Well, the night before we arrived there was a lightning storm.  No big deal right?  It didn't effect us.  Or so we thought.  After attempting a detour to a lake which was about the half way point (seriously, this trail was unmarked, and never used.  We were totally winging it and definitely got lost at one point.  We knew we were close but didn't want to risk getting truly lost.  This was the WILDERNESS, as in we hadn't seen a soul in a couple of days and there probably hadn't been a person where we were in who knows how long (plus on our itinerary we gave to the ranger station we didn't note this detour).  So we decided to call it and retrace our steps (it was beginning to get dark and we needed to find a place to set up camp). 

We made it back, found a spot, set up camp, heard a very close gunshot go off at 9:30 pm (which means two things: Option A: crazy person with a gun...don't like this option.  Option B: Crazy bear/mountain lion threatening person with gun.  Don't like this option either...though I choose the animal over the crazy person any day.)  Turns out the gun shot sorta wigged me out...though I didn't realize it at the time of the shot.  When it came to lying in the tent...listening to the forest noises, with Jason sound asleep in .5 mind went crazy.  And my mat was really hard and uncomfortable and sleep was had.

The next day we packed up and continued back from our detour to find the main trail.  This is when I started to smell smoke.  Not horribly...but I could smell it.  I have a freakishly sensitive nose.  I even weirds me out sometimes.  Jason always jokes that the police should hire me for their narcotics division.  :)  As we started hiking deeper into the wilderness the smell was getting stronger and stronger...and we began to see it in the sky...and even lower in the trees where we were hiking.  There is something really unsettling about the knowledge of a forest fire being somewhere but having no clue where it is.  So, we talked and prayed and decided to head back down, backtracking our trail rather than completing the loop.  In the end it was about the same miles but it was going back the direction that seemed to be better smoke wise.  We made it pretty far, found a site and decided to make that home for the next 2 days. 

We woke up the next morning...and the sky was clear and blue.  No smoke.  Weird.  So we lounged by the river, relaxed and had a nice low key day.  We woke up the next morning sad to be leaving the mountains as we were hiking out that day.  I started packing up, and then the smoke came fast and strong.  The sky was a weird browny color in some spots.  We kicked it into high gear and got out of there as fast as we could.  We did 4 miles in oh...a little less than an hour. haha.  With packs on our backs.  :)

So, we did our 5 days and it was grand.  Being outdoors...especially far from anyone else besides the person you're hiking with involves flexibility.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that.  But we had a blast and have some good stories to go with it too.  And here are a few pictures to leave you off with!  :)

Jason and his crazy cool suspension system for boiling water in the pot.
Tongs!  To remove our quesadillas!  :)

You know you are far from civilization when you aren't worried about people seeing you in these babies!  :)  (sssshhhh.  I secretly like wearing them!  :)  )

Too bad I caught the only fish...and it was sooo tiny!  :(  Sad.  I hate killing really do.  Even bugs.  I know, it's ridiculous.  We tried to release it but it had swallowed the hook to deeply and it didn't make it.  But there you have it.  The fishing champion!
Our attempt at a "together shot"  on a bridge...with packs that got in the way every time we turned to face the camera, haha.
Loaded up!

Smoke!  Ack!
Our accommodations for the week!  :)
Have a great weekend everyone!  Adios!  Oh....and yes there is a big fire in northern Cali right now.  It was about 30 miles east of Redding.  Not sure how close that was to us.  Not dangerously close, but definitely close enough.  Especially when you had no way of knowing where exactly it was!  Good times.  :)

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