Friday, November 22, 2019

Day 12: Another difficult day....

July 27: The morning started warm. Weather forecasts called for a high of 85 degrees in Eureka--a bit cooler than yesterday but still uncomfortably warm. But at least I'd be going up in elevation so most of the day I figured it would probably be in the 70s. Still quite warm, though!

Immediately after leaving camp, the trail headed up a steep slope quickly rising 3000 feet up Webb Mountain. It was an east-facing slope so even though it was early in the morning, I sweat bullets with the sun pounding down. There were quite a few trees which provided shade at times, but other areas were opened from old forest fires and provided very little shade and my pack was excruciatingly heavy filled with a week of food. It was a tough mountain for me to get up and I had to rest several times along the way.

At the top was an old fire lookout tower. This one was locked up tight and it appeared to be occupied. Inside, I could see food, toys for kids, sleeping bags hanging, etc. People can rent it for the night and apparently, it's quite a popular rental. I had asked the rangers in Eureka about it and they said it was booked full for months.

The views from the top were expansive but a haze had settling along the horizon. I wondered if a fire was burning nearby causing the haze. These hot temperatures and dry air could have easily resulted in a fire near the trail.

Mount Webb fire lookout tower

After a short rest at the lookout tower, I continued onward. The trail bounced up and down throughout the day rising and falling regularly between 500 and 1000 feet. Up and down, up and down, down and up, up and down....

It felt endless and wore me down.

I stopped for a 1.5 hour lunch during the hottest part of the day and took the time to cook dinner. Once again, I did not expect to have any good, quality water to camp near so I cooked dinner and cleaned up my dishes for lunch instead. I also took a short nap. The trail was really wearing me down today!

I filled up with an excruciating 5.5 liters of water to get through the dry spell and questionable water sources.

It was also a lonely day of hiking where I didn't see a single person the entire day. No hikers, no bikers and not even any drivers along the road walks. Not a lot of views to enjoy either since most of the day was in the trees.

I had hoped to reach the Mount Henry lookout tower and spend the night there, but I couldn't make it. The trail kicked my ass. I made it 18.0 miles according to my GPS, but I couldn't quite make it the last couple of miles to the lookout tower--although I was able to see it from a distance. My GPS also said I had climbed 6,700 feet in elevation throughout the day, but it felt like a lot more than that!

Storm clouds roll in over Mount Henry. At the very top, you can see the fire lookout tower that I had hoped to reach by the end of the day but no, the trail was too tough for me. I just couldn't make it!
Shortly after arriving in camp, I heard thunder in the distance and hoped and prayed it wouldn't rain. There wasn't any rain in the forecast and I was set up for cowboy camping! But a short while later, it did start raining. Given the lack of rain in the forecast and the fact that most clouds didn't look like they had rain, I decided that it was a small storm cell passing through and I could wait it out. I threw out my tarp like a blanket and hid under it for about 20 minutes. The storm passed by, the rain stopped, and I threw the tarp off again.

The rest of the evening was uneventful. I read my Kindle and watched Netflix shows that I downloaded to kill the time before heading to sleep. I hoped tomorrow would be a bit easier!

Lots of rabbits on the trail! This one was particularly photogenic letting me get especially close!

View of Koocanusa Lake while climbing up Webb Mountain. The air is a lot hazier today than previous days--a fire nearby, perhaps?

Inside the Mount Webb fire lookout tower. It looked like a family had already occupied the space for the night, but they were nowhere to be seen.
View from the lookout tower

Filling up with water! This fresh spring water was so wonderfully cold to drink!


Anonymous said...

Hi, do you use a water filtering system such as Lifestraw?

Lou Catozzi (PI Joe) said...

That is one of the few fire towers I've ever seen that you could drive up to.

Ryan said...

No, not on this trail. I didn't use anything to treat my water. Some trails I have, though. I used a SteriPen on the Florida Trail and a Sawyer filter on the Arizona Trail, for instance.

Wise Wanderer said...

I'm curious because you spend so much time reading your kindle, and this time, watching movies. How do you keep your device charged for such long periods?
Wise Wanderer

Ryan said...

The Kindle I just charge when I'm in town. It will hold a charge that lasts for *weeks!*

My cell phone won't hold a charge that long so I have to limit how much I use it. Usually I wouldn't use it for more than an hour each day, and I did have a solar charger I could use to recharge it within moderation.

My other electronic devices (GPS, camera, etc.) use batteries so I just carry extra batteries for those.

Karolina said...

I love all the flowers!
And that look out tower looks like a cool place to spend a night.