Now this is a real hike

Let me just say right now that I should have taken my real camera on the hike up over Piegan’s Pass. I took my little camera and my cell phone. Somehow the camera’s lens got jammed, and the cell phone battery died.

But, back to the day’s beginning, as was the standard, we made bacon and eggs for breakfast. As I’d figured the day before when she refused to make the group stop again to tend to her blisters, Little Bird’s feet were not in any shape to make the day’s hike. She sent us on our way.

Ox and I drove Walden up to where the hike was to end. Just after we’d parked, we saw a couple in a Vanagon Westfalia, and I had to go over to talk to them. They had miraculously found their Westy in a junk yard and paid something like $1400 for it (that’s what I paid for my 1972 Bus in 1980). The engine was even in good shape. My hypothesis was that a jilted lover had sold it to a junk yard while the former partner was away. I think theirs was a 1989 and it was in great shape. They’d put a bit of sweat equity in it, but it was damn good looking. We had to rush off as I was afraid we’d miss the shuttle.

At the shuttle stop we met a guy, apparently German, who was one month in to a seven month trip with what I thought he said was a family of five. When he started enumerating the age of the kids, though, it seemed like he listed five kids. The eldest was a sixteen year old daughter. This was the first day that he’d been away from his family in the month they’d been traveling. He had already done the Piegan’s Pass hike that we were about to do (2000 feet up, 3000 feet down, over about 10 miles) and was about to go over some other pass. He’d done our hike in 4.5 hours. This seemed like good news to me and Ox.

At some point I saw a mountain in the distance. I said “Thank God we don’t have to go over that!” and at about that time, I realized that clearly we did have to go over that. If I squinted, I could see the trail switching back up the side of the mountain. And there were these little specks that you could see on the trail. After gazing intently for a moment or two, I realized that they were people. “Maybe they are dwarfs,” I thought. No, they were just that far away.

When we finally got to what looked like the pass, there was a big hunk of ice. Ox set off to climb up to the top of it. After a while he came back and said that you could go up between the ice and the side of the mountain. I decided that I had to go see it too.

After our ice climbing adventure, we resumed our climb to the top. It went up and up and up. The view from the top was pretty splendid.

The bummer, sort of, is that Piegan, when he or she managed to find this pass, found that you have to go up a few hundred more feet from this place that looked to me like it should have been the pass. The point of a pass is that it’s a place that you don’t have to summit the freaking mountain, right? It was pretty cool to finally make it to the top of the pass. There was a pile of rocks up there. I added a couple and took a picture of where we were about to go next.

Once at the top, we could see the trail headed way across the valley. It was going to be a long way down to get to that trail.

But make it we did. We stopped a couple times for me to apply more moleskin to various parts of my feet that were blistering. I was very happy to hear cars on the road, as for a time I was convinced that the trail would never end. I suppose that if I were a hiker I might be sad to learn that my hike was coming to an end, but I was pretty darn tired when we finally made it back out.

The pictures didn’t really come out that well on my silly cell phone, but you can see them all if you want.

Back at the campground, I decided that I was going to get a real shower. I paid my $2.56 and went back to where the showers were. There were two guys outside of the shower who informed me that they were waiting in line. There was only one shower reserved for each gender. I opened up a Moose Drool and offered them a beer. They seemed to be a bit taken aback, and demured the libation. The shower timer was eight minutes, so we were together quite a while. We exchanged stories about parks and where to go. I convinced one of the guys that if the only woman over in the woman’s shower was his wife that he should join her. I’m not sure, but I think that when he returned, he took me up on the offer of a beer.

After the shower party I headed back to the campground and tried unsuccessfully to get Bird and Ox to go get showers. I was even going to spring for the $2.56. They opted to stay dirty. Little Bird said that she was getting a sore throat and wrapped up in her sleeping bag.

We were making pasta sauce again and I whined that I didn’t have any tomato sauce. The folks in the campground next door overheard this and gave Little Bird a can as she walked by their site on the way back from the bathroom. These camping people are a friendly bunch, at least this pair of Canadians were.

I think I ended up making clam sauce and not needing the tomato sauce. Later, when we were parting ways, I tried to get Little Bird and Ox to take the can of tomato sauce, but the refused. I think if you have a fifty pound pack, you’re not interested in adding another pound of canned tomato sauce.

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