Dearborn River Valley (2789.9 S)
Day 154 – 9/22/17
Miles – 16.0
Total miles – 2387.2
The wind blew hard most of the night. Around 1:30, Papa Raven had to go out in the cold and put a tent peg back in that blew out. Shortly after he was back in the sleeping bag, it started to snow. Not hard, but we could hear it gently spattering the tent. When we woke in the morning, it was still snowing. Because we were so warm and comfortable in our tents, we took our time packing. A nice thing about snow is it can be shaken or brushed off easily, unlike rain, thus the tents start somewhat dry. However, over a long period of time, the gear eventually gets wet. Under a gently snowing sky, we set out hiking with every article of clothing on. Our price possession offering the most protection against the cold are the new rain/snow pants we purchased in Helena. Even though it was only in the low twenty’s all day, we managed to stay comfortably warm. In fact, there were times we even got hot on the long ups. Everyone but Mama Raven doubled up on gloves. We wore a pair of gloves covered by a pair of mittens. This kept our hands warm, but not dry. Mama Raven on the other hand had her single pair of winter gloves. In Lincoln, when we were picking up our box at the Post Office, Mama Raven asked the woman helping us if there was any place to buy gloves. She said “hold on a minute” and went to the back room and soon returned with a pair of winter gloves. She gave them to Mama Raven. We asked if someone had left them there and she told us that they were hers and she was giving them to Mama Raven. We thanked her profusely! Mama Raven loves them! They are so warm. Best of all, they do not become saturated with water like her thin micro fleece mittens.
The snow came down all day. Sometimes hard, sometime soft. The worst time was when we walked a ridge. The wind was blowing terribly hard and the snow swirled in small clouds. It was hard to rest because snow covered everything and there was no place to sit. Most of our breaks we stood. All our water hoses and valves froze. We drank nothing all day. Snicker bars and dried fruit became rock solid and uneatable. Even Papa Raven’s beard froze. We received 4″-6″ of new snow. At the higher elevations, the snow fell on top of last week’s snow, making the snow level even higher. At the worst parts, we would sink nearly to our knees in snow with each step. Hiking was slow. By the end of the day, we were worn out. However, the only parts of our bodies that were really cold were are fingers and toes. The extra clothes we bought in Helena and Lincoln paid off. Thankfully, the weather is suppose to clear up tomorrow. We camped underneath a dense cluster of trees where the snow was not very deep. What snow was on the ground, we cleared away before we set up the tents. When Papa Raven went out of the tent to tighten up the tent, he could see some glittering stars in the dark sky. We hope the weather breaks up over night. The thought of a repeat of today’s hiking is not pleasant!!! We have a cabin lined up for tomorrow night, but it is 24.5 mile away. We hope we can make it. Our moral needs the boost of a warm, dry place to stay, but it is hard to push out the miles walking in 6″ of snow.