|Ruby on a big field of sun cups.|
Only a few other souls were braving the Tam MacArthur Rim today, and none of them were staying overnight. It was admittedly too early. Huge snow patches covered much of the trail. In early morning, much of the traverse we were doing would be treacherously icy. Under the glare of an unrelenting sun, though, the snow had reverted to a sloppy consistency reminiscent of potatoes.
|Ruby on a small patch of snow. This was all melted out by the end of the day.|
|J and dogs skiing|
But the going was slow. After J's run down the mountain, we decided to return to camp. In a rookie move, we discovered much of the rim, especially when snow-covered, looks very similar. Was it in this patch of trees? This one? No, no it wasn't. Just when I was contemplating the fact that we might have to spend a night out (we had matches and extra clothes, but it wouldn't have been that great), J found our camp, farther to the east than we had remembered. It's easy to be nonchalant when you have been backpacking all of your life. Do not lose the camp!
It was our wedding anniversary, and as I stumbled into camp after ten hours of difficult snow travel, I wondered why I couldn't be content with dinner out, why I insist on these trips that are both hard and magnificent. But this kind of thing feeds my soul.
A full moon rose over the Rim just as an army of mosquitoes descended upon us. The dreaded Cascades mosquitoes! I have no idea if they will go away as the summer winds on, but clearly I need to learn mosquito management. It's been forever since I have had to deal with them.
It doesn't appear to cool down much here at night, so the mosquitoes were still hanging around. News flash: the natural stuff may work in your neck of the woods, but these skeeters are undeterred. We packed up quickly. "This was a nice camp," I said.
"Easy to find," J replied. We laughed.
*sun cup: deep, annoying hollows in snow when it is beginning to melt out, creating slippery and hazardous walking.
|Good thing I still have the headnet from Interior Alaska firefighting days.|