CDT Day 61: Random yurt to sagebrush stream – YOLO Yurt Camp to Frozen Sage Camp
Miles hiked: 35
Total miles: 1048.8
We did it. We pulled it off! It took from before sunrise to past sunset, but SpiceRack and I paid off our mileage debt incurred when we decided to stay in the yurt. 35 miles hiked matches my record from the PCT, but I have to say that it felt way easier this time around. Not that it was easy, but I think that having a partner to push with gave me an intangible boost.
Up at 4am, shuffling around in the pitch black yurt. We were packed up and hiking by 4:30am, right on schedule. The night/morning was warm and peaceful, with a small, but bright sliver of moon reflecting just enough light for me to think I could see where I was going. Fortunately, the trail was still a dirt road for a few miles. Hard to lose that.
My mind was sooooo tired, reminding me of super early mornings at the airport. Awake, but far from being fully functional. I noticed the interesting dips in temperature as I passed by creeks or meadows. Spice and I mostly hiked in silence.
Sunrise came around 5:45am. Our first break came at 7:30am. We invented cookie dough coffee, which improved our alertness and energy levels.
Now, I have to say that we(Spice) chose this section to hike big miles because it looked easy and uneventful on the map. We(Spice) were right. The trail came and went through grassy meadows. We watched the wind gust waves of green and silver. The looking was good backwards to the cliffy stuff around Brooks Lake. 12 miles by 10am. First lunch at 11am.
The wind blew heartily as we traversed a long ridge. The wall of dead pine kept us free of turbulence and, in Spice’s words, sounded like a rollercoaster full of yelling children. Taylor Swift echoed in my mind, burrowing into the most permanent places of my memory. Second lunch at a creek, then more easy walking through trees and meadows. We took one last break at 6:30pm on an open hillside with wide views of silhouetted ridges across the valley.
Seven miles to go. Let’s get going! We followed a dirt road for too long, needing to ‘swhack across a wide valley of sage to get back on track. Then we followed a cow path off of the CDT, requiring a minor reroute. We said goodbye to the sun just before ducking into the trees on an actual trail.
The route around Lake of the Woods was a fun change of pace and a little creepy in the diminishing light. I pushed on without my headlamp as long as I possibly could, enjoying the challenge to my vision and balance on uneven footing. The stars came out big time. I finally put on my headlamp so that I could hang with Spice who was disappearing into the darkness ahead.
It was warm in the trees, but then really cold in the sagebrush where our creek gurgled formlessly in my dim red light. Our home was just a boulder away. 9:40pm, 35 miles hiked. I feel surprisingly not broken, but ludicrously tired. The cookie dough coffee wore off many lunches ago. Back on track. Yep, the yurt was definitely worth it.