Monday, February 6, 2017

Day 11: Don't poop in a wasp nest! (Rule #83)

Karolina and I woke up and prepared for our day's hike. When I changed from my camp shirt into my hiking shirt, I did an Incredible Hulk impression, flexing my arms with an angry look to my face and growled loudly and--apparently looked so ridiculous--Karolina burst out in an uncontrollable laughter. She was so loud and so consistent, a couple of the neighboring hikers poked their heads around some trees to see what the fuss about, and we apologized for disturbing their morning, but they took it well saying that her laugh was cheering in the morning.

My Incredible Hulk impression made Karolina laugh and small babies cry.

The trail today wouldn't go over any significant passes, but it that's not to say it didn't intend to give us a workout. We started the morning going down a long, 1000-ft drop, then a 2000-ft climb to the hillside of a mountain (not even the top despite being at 10,000 feet!), then another 1000-ft drop down to a nice creek. Much of the day's hiking was in the trees, although there were plenty of views along the way as well.

The creek where we took a break was Bear Creek, and it had a nice, shaded bank where I lounged around. Karolina wanted to wade into the water--no surprise there! Eventually, I took the 'magic shovel' and headed up a hillside to find a place to 'lighten my load' in private.

I found a nice place, well-hidden from view, and dug a small hole next to a fallen log. The fallen log was useful for two reasons. It was large--large enough to help provide some privacy--but also to give me something to lean on while doing my business instead of having to squat free-style.

And as I squat there, contemplating the meaning of life, I noticed a small hole in the ground maybe four feet away. And I noticed a wasp flying into it. Then another one. Then a couple of wasps flew out, and still others flew in. In the course of a minute, I probably watched a dozen wasps coming and going from that hole. It must be a wasp nest!

A wasp nest!

Which, I have to admit, was an unsettling thought as I had my pants pulled down to my ankles and my most private of parts exposed just a few feet from so many wasps that I had already lost count.

However, they didn't seem to be interested in me--thank goodness for small favors! So I continued finishing my business, but kept a weary eye on the wasp nest. Thank goodness I hadn't tried to dig my hole just a few feet over! Somehow, I think the wasps might have had a bigger problem with me had I tried digging up their nest and pooping in it! Rule #83 in the wilderness: Never poop in a wasp nest. Nothing good has ever come from it. Look it up if you don't believe me. *nodding*

Anyhow, I finished up my business, filled in the hole and returned to the creek where Karolina informed me that there were some people skinny dipping just downstream. I looked downstream and I didn't see any skinny-dippers, but I did see two people--a man and a woman--laying out in the sun, naked, on a rock in the river. They didn't appear to have realized we were there, and we didn't say anything to them because why? They weren't hurting anything and weren't bothering us. Good for them for enjoying their wilderness experience! No reason for us to intrude on it, though.

Karolina said that there had been three people skinny dipping in the water, but I saw no evidence of a third person until about 15 minutes later when I saw a guy walking away on the other side of the boulder. I'm not sure where he popped out of, but if that was the third skinny dipper, he had obviously put his clothes back on. Not that it really mattered to us, but it was just part of our pattern of wanting to know who all was around us and near us on the trail. Backpackers are always keeping a mental list of where people are on the trail. Who's ahead, who's behind, who's nearby, where they're all heading for a break, where they're all planning to stop for the night.

Our creekside rest area, where we lounged around for an hour or two and admired some skinny dippers downstream.

This creek was our minimum stopping point for the day, but Karolina still felt strong and we still had quite a bit of daylight left, so we eventually pushed onward. The trail largely followed Bear Creek upstream the next couple of miles and we had quite a few different campsites to choose from ultimately setting up camp near the junction with the Lake Italy Trail by a small waterfall on the creek. It was an extra 1.9 miles beyond our minimum goal, which I was quite happy to knock out. It was the first time since we left Mammoth Lakes that we had exceeded our minimum goal for the day.

Flies had been an annoyance the whole day, but at least they weren't biting. Just an annoyance, but by around sunset, mosquitoes came out in force which was much more than a mere annoyance. Dastardly devils, they are. *nodding*

Well after sunset, Karolina and I watched the moon rise over the waterfall when I spotted an enormous shooting star bursting to the west. It was bright and seemed to light up the whole sky--it was the single most spectacular shooting star I had ever seen in my life!--but Karolina was looking in another direction and missed it completely. She was very disappointed to have missed such a sight.

We weren't even watching for shooting stars at the time. The peak of the Perseids was the night before, but there would still be more than the usual shooting stars tonight. Our campsite was deep in the trees, though, and except near the creek, we couldn't see much of the sky. We hadn't really expected to do any meteor watching tonight, so it was a nice surprise to have witnessed such a spectacular event.

And with that, we headed off to sleep.

Tree hugger....
Another tree hugger! (This fellow started throwing small pinecones at Karolina from the trees, which was pretty funny!)
I take a break next to Mono Creek, near the trail junction with the Lake Edison Trail.
Karolina tries to blend in with the trees.

Karolina made this headset with a twig and a pine cone, but the reception was terrible!

Karolina was impressed with the size of the mushrooms on the trail. (She didn't pull this one out of the ground--it was already sitting on the ground near the trail when she picked it up.)

I wear a mosquito net to beat the flies back while reading my Kindle during a break.
Another quick break on the trail!

'Tis a wasp nest!

Cowboy camping for the night again. We've had such great weather so far!


Anonymous said...

Yellow jackets nest in ground. Nasty devils. You were lucky.

KuKu said...

That video of the wasps was making me jump at every buzz!