Sunday, May 31, 2020

A trip to the middle of nowhere

Two weekends ago, my friend A asked me to go backpacking. I considered this. Technically, this would be social distancing--we could drive separately, we had our own tents, and we could hike six feet apart. It might be pushing the envelope a bit, but we have both been in the same tiny community for months, and it hardly was on the same scale as some of the large gatherings I have seen lately. So, we went.

We hiked up the Imnaha River into what I like t think of as the middle of nowhere. Rarely traveled except for the first few miles, this brings you into some truly wild country. And this spring is the greenest the old-timers have ever seen, bringing lush green vistas as we hiked.

The ticks weren't out, which was confusing. Maybe this is a low tick year?
This time of year I am never sure how far I can get, but after we set up our tents at the forks, a mere 6.5 miles up, we decided to day hike farther and see. It had been years since I had hiked this trail (the last time being a scary bear encounter that sent me hoofing it back to the trailhead). We crossed over an elaborate trail bridge of which I had no recollection. A trail crossed the river, and I gazed at it longingly--there is nothing I like better than to haunt these old ghost trails, to find a semblance of what they once were. But alas, the river was running high with snowmelt, and this would have to wait for another day.

We pressed on through some intermittent snowfields to a picturesque meadow with views of Red Mountain, and, in the distance, Hawkins Pass. Our turn-around spot was the trail junction to Boner Flat. Someone had stolen the sign long ago, but I remembered it as being obvious, Not so anymore--the cairn had tumbled and the trail was invisible. I gazed longingly up both trails, wishing we had more time. Alas, night was coming, so we retraced our steps for a decent 14 mile day.

Turn-around spot, but very hard to do.

Optimistically we had brought our 15 degree bags, and despite me dragging the dog into my tent, I still froze. Ruby's water was ice in the morning, reminding me it was still May, early for backpacking around these parts. Still, we packed up and were on trail by seven, and to the car by ten. We had seen only two other people the whole time.

I have unfinished business in the middle of nowhere. I still need to fill in a gap between Hawkins Pass and Boner Flat junction. It looks like this will be the summer for local mountains, and I'm OK with that. I've spent eight summers chasing the PCT, and it is time to stay home. Right now, the middle of nowhere seems like a good place to be.

21 comments:

  1. I agree, this is the year to be thankful for having a "middle of nowhere" place near home. I'm so glad you finished the PCT so you don't have that unfinished business motivating you to travel. We are restless but maybe learning to appreciate what we have nearby is our 2020 lesson.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The timing of finishing was perfect! I was wondering if I'd feel post trail depression, but I've been completely distracted.

      Delete
  2. That's a wonderful hike, I hope I get to do it again someday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So nice and peaceful. I hope to spend more time there. No ticks...weird.

      Delete
  3. Sounds like a wonderful get away! Beautiful country you have where you live. If this pandemic ever dies down I'd love to come and visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes! I hope you can. Everyone else is, but thanks for being responsible.

      Delete
  4. Wish I didn't have to be responsible, but I respect your town. I miss being able to hike there. Some time this year maybe. For now I'll enjoy your pictures and explore trails north of the state line.
    Weird no ticks yet. We didn't see any over the holiday weekend either. Our news said it was expected to be a bad year for them. I'm good if it isn't.
    Happy trails until we can hike together again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we are going to phase 2 soon. Things are opening up. Maybe the state park soon?

      Delete
  5. The 'middle of nowhere hike' looks totally awesome, especially with its view of Red Mountain. My son working from home in Austria was finally able to escape his 4 walls this past weekend. His photos of alpine trails had me very envious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think travel is in the cards..so maby great places to visit. Like Austria.

      Delete
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