I woke up completely dry again. I think I’ve finally figured out my shelter. My tent (MSR Hubba) has a feature where I can put up the rainfly without the tent underneath it. This leaves about a one-inch gap around the bottom, and it has two vents at the top. It’s a lot like cowboy camping, but keeps the frost and dew and rain off me. I know a lot of people use a tarp tent, but it usually involves trekking poles and staking support lines or tying them to trees. Mine is free-standing. If there is any condensation from my breath it drips safely on the edge and not onto me. And the only thing I have to dry out at lunch is the rainfly itself, and not my tent and sleeping bag as well. I think this is the way to go. I’m going to mail the tent away as soon as I can. I can still deploy my bug bivy inside if the skeeters ever show up.
My stupid schedule only has me hiking 12 miles today. I’m a few miles behind, so I’m using today to try and catch up. Which was pretty easy since the first 12 miles was downhill.
I was worried sick about crossing Evolution Creek for the two hours it took me to get there. I couldn’t eat breakfast. I kept telling myself, “Dude, you’re a Hydrologist! You’ve spent hundreds of hours in steams. Probably no one is better at crossing creeks than you are. You’ll be fine.” But it didn’t help. There is an official alternate crossing spot for when the water is too high, in the meadow where the water is slow, but it’s also deep. It’s supposed to be a drought year, so I thought I would take a look at the main crossing and hike back to the alternate if it looked too scary.
It certainly was a lot of water to cross. But then I got there, and it was nothing! About 8 inches deep and a nice gravel substrate to cross on. Cold, yes, but not at all dangerous. I felt much better when I got to the other side.
So, I got my 12 in by 1300 and walked another four miles back up to 10,000 feet and made an early camp around 1700. I am now one mile ahead of my stupid schedule.
Post Trail Edit: I missed a day here in the blog. The day I crossed Evolution Creek I did hike back to 9700 feet and made a camp by Sanger Creek (mile 862). There was a well-established spot there but I went a little away to a spot with more cover and more privacy (in case anyone showed up).
I guess this is getting routine, because I didn’t take notes or have much memory of the next day. They kind of blur together. My notes say I hiked from Sanger Creek 17.7 miles to a wonderful stealth camp surrounded by boulders. Made camp at 1645.
And it was a great day for an early camp. I had everything set up and had just finished dinner when it started to precipitate. I just ducked inside. I must have been around snow level because I got graupel, then hail, then rain, then snow, then more rain. But my tarp kept me snug and dry. I loved hearing it on my shelter from the comfort of my bed. Too bad my air mattress has a hole in it which I can’t fix until I get to town. I duct-taped the hole in my shirt and listened to podcasts of Fresh Air on my phone.