Into a Burn

A burned out saddle ()
Day 158 – 9/26/17
Miles – 22.6
Total miles – 2464.3

One again, the sky was gray with clouds and our tents and sleeping bags were very wet with condensation. We put on our rain pants and jackets as well as our dry socks. We were not as concerned with rain, but with the wet plants. The trail is overgrown and we wanted to stay somewhat dry. The dry socks came in handy when both Bling and Papa Raven dunked their feet crossing a stream. Later, Mama Raven dunked one of her feet. Whisper came away with dry feet. We spent most of the day hiking down Spotted Bear Valley. The hiking was not hard, although it still took many hours to cover the 16 miles. The fall colors are out in full color. It was a beautiful walk. The clouds were still thick and we were concerned that the sun would not come out, so we strapped our tents and one sleeping bag to the backs of our packs and hiked on. It looked a bit funny, but it got the job done. Napoleon and Red Cross set up camp at Silvertip Cabin. They are each fighting colds and wanted to postpone the upcoming big up until tomorrow when hopefully they would be feeling stronger. The Ravens wanted to get the up over with. The up was a big 2,500′ in 4 miles. Finally, the sun came out in the late afternoon.  Being an alternate trail, the path was rarely used and was heavily overgrown. Thankfully, it had been recently logged out. We stopped to eat dinner and then continued on. Soon the sun was setting, in a mostly clear sky, but there was no place to camp. We hiked on into the evening into a large burned area. From the look of it the fire occurred last year and it was a hot one.  There were no plants, just blacken trees trunks and ash all about. With headlamps on, we hiked on looking for a flat place, hopefully away from any dead trees.  Burned trees fall all the time, for no good reason and we did not want any of them hitting us.  We were trying to reach a saddle, but the trail was very hard to follow in the dark. Eventually, we had to stop because we could not find the trail. We moved rocks and some dead burned plants and made enough room the pitch the tents. We could not remove the thick layer of black ash we would have to camp on. In fact, all around us was a charcoal wonderland.  Everything we touched was charred and left it’s black residue on us and our gear. In the morning, it will not be pleasant to roll up the tents, especially if there is condensation.

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