Monday, January 27, 2020

Day 40: The Cattle Take Charge

August 24: It didn't rain anymore during the night but the condensation on my tarp in the morning was absolutely horrendous! I was glad I had my tarp set up to keep me dry.

The day's hike was entirely road walk. The first 10 miles were along a paved road that looped around Palmer Lake while the last 9 miles was a gravel road. As a general rule, the paved roads were flat and easy and not particularly busy. A vehicle would drive past every 5 to 10 minutes or so. The gravel roads were generally uphill (but still easy) and got even less traffic.

Slug near camp

The day was warming and I found myself low on water. I filled up all of my water bottles when I left Oroville knowing that there likely wouldn't be much good water for quite awhile and I wasn't excited to drink the water from Similkameen River or Palmer Lake. The area was surrounded by farms and cattle and the water undoubtedly polluted. I wanted to wait for a better water source which I wouldn't reach until later in the afternoon. So I started rationing my water supplies and spent much of the day dreaming about drinking water.

I finally took a long break at Chopaka Creek for a rest break. I had already filled up with water from an earlier creek, but this one had a wide area in the shade to spread out and relax and I needed the rest. I pulled out my groundsheet and cooked a dinner alongside the creek because there was plenty of water nearby.

Dinner was great, and I pulled out my Kindle to continue reading about Dirk Pitt's exploits. Dirk Pitt was in the process of rescuing a damsel in distress (of course!) when a line of cattle came down the road and started veering off the road to my rest area. They startled me--I hadn't seen or heard them until they started going off the road toward my rest area. "Hey!" I shouted at them.

The cow at the head of the line stopped suddenly, looking at me startled. She was clearly surprised to find me there. She seemed stupefied for a moment before backing up to the road and going over the creek on the gravel road to the other side before continuing their journey up the creek. There were about 5 of them, and they stopped in the creek to drink a short way upstream of me.

Then some more cattle arrived. And more arrived. Holy crap! Where did all these guys come from! There were now about 20 of them crowding into the creek but keeping a respectful distance from me. I decided it was time to get out of there. I packed up my stuff and hit the trail. I had initially planned to fill up with water from the creek but decided against it. I should have enough water to get me to the next water source and this source was clearly contaminated with 20 cattle! I wasn't that desperate for water!

Late in the afternoon, I reached a spring with a trough and set up camp nearby. A barbed-wire fence went through the trough and there was a cow on the other side drinking water from the trough, so we agreed to stay on our own side of the barbed-wire fence. I'm not sure if the cow understood our agreement, though. I too filled up with water, but I got it directly from the spring filling the trough rather than the trough itself which, I knew, was contaminated by a cow.

In other news, that evening while adding up my miles, I realized that I had passed the official halfway point of the trail! That was something worth celebrating! So I ate an extra piece of chocolate for dessert.

Then I spent the rest of the evening continuing to read the exploits of Dirk Pitt. I just had to know how he saved that damsel in distress!

I had to share this water source with a cow. We agreed to stay on our own sides of the barbed-wire fence, and she drank out of the trough while I collected water from the spout on the side.

Palmer Lake

Watch out for wasps!
Lots of agriculture out here

Some old, abandoned mining equipment


Lou Catozzi (PI Joe) said...

Another Clive Cussler fan! Were you reading one of his older classics or one of the newer ones?

Ryan said...

One of his newer ones. Whatever the name of the last Dirk Pitt novel was. All the names tend to blend together for me.