Thursday, June 25, 2009

21 June 2009 - East of Yaak, MT

Today is the longest day of the year. We are lucky to be having so many hours of sunlight because we've been using them all. We've been waking at about 5:45 am and going to sleep at around 9:30 pm. During this time it is all sunlight. We aim to be hiking by 7:00 am and can be on our feet hiking for 12 hours--including some much needed water breaks. With that much hiking, it is easy to quickly pass out in the evening, completely missing the darkness.

Last night was cold. This could have been predicted by the random piles of snow that dotted the shaded areas near our tent. As we hiked this morning, the snow became more prevalent as we found ourselves either trudging through piles of snow or trudging through melted snow in the form of mud and rivers of ice cold water. This created a wet morning as Dave and Rachel both found themselves with soaked feet.

The wet and cold path of the morning greatly slowed our progress as we were forced to strategically plan each step and even did some backtracking due to losing the trail in the snow. I was desperately hoping for some drier ground. Then we took an ill-advised shortcut. One map showed a short cut and another map showed a trail which disipated into the woods. The latter was correct. After climbing over down trees and descending 1,400 feet, we learned this. We dejectedly had to turn around and ascend 1,400 feet.

We ultimately returned to the same place that we were a few hours earlier, but this time we were exhausted and out of water. Now more than anything we wanted a wet environment, but the trail just got drier and more arid with each step. After a few hours we fortunately found a small stream which we used to rehydrate ourselves. Despite this, I still felt dehydrated for the remainder of the walk. I even fell during the final descent of the day.

Tonight we are camped adjacent to a waterfall. We were all able to overcome our exhaustion to take a brief dip in the icy waters beneath the falls. Now I am dry and am hoping that the roar of the waterfall will cover up any of the sounds of flatulence being emitted from our tent.

Dave's turn swimming in the waterfall.

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