Friday, June 3, 2022

Day 101: The Trekking Pole Fiasco

July 30: I didn't sleep well during the night. The wind, rain, and particularly hard ground made a potent combination. I did sleep in a bit as a result, but not too late. I had to take advantage of the early-morning cool temperatures, after all! So I was on the trail and moving by 6:30am.

The day's hike wasn't particularly noteworthy. Temperatures were still hot and humid, but significantly cooler than the last few days. Thank goodness for small favors, right? The terrain was more-or-less the same as before: flat, desolate but otherwise easy.

Morning rainbow!

Three different times throughout the day I caught up with Sweet Tooth and Bugs, each time when they stopped at a water source. Just the fact that there were three different water sources during the day was a bit of a small miracle in itself! They invariably wound up being water from cattle troughs, but those weren't so bad as long as the water came from a well and I could fill up before the water drained into the pool that cattle drank from.

It was at the end of the day when the crisis happened. I'd already covered about 28 miles for the day and decided that it was a good time to stop. Rain was in the forecast for the night, and the winds were fierce! So my main concern was trying to find a place where I could set up camp anywhere the wind wasn't so bad, but it seemed bad everywhere. There just wasn't much around to hide from the wind.

Until... I reached what looked like an old roadbed next to the trail that had been worn down by a foot or so. The slight depression in it provided a small wind break, and it was the best option I had seen for miles so I grabbed it!

I could see lightning coming out of this cloud, and at one point, it looked like a heavy hail storm, although it never did hail on me. (Hail storms, if you're wondering, look a lot whiter than a regular rain storm does.)


I spread out my ground sheet, then pulled out my tarp since rain was expected and.... looking around, I didn't see my trekking pole. What happened to my trekking pole?! Nooo!!!!!

The last couple of miles, I thought it was in my pack. I didn't really need it on such flat, easy terrain and hadn't been using it, and I tried thinking back the last time I actually remembered seeing or using the trekking pole, which was about 2.1 miles behind me where I had stopped for a short break. I must have left it there. ARGH!!! I didn't want to backtrack 2.1 miles! Definitely not now as rain appeared to be imminent. 

I did backtrack about 5 minutes on the off chance that it somehow fell out of my pack when I got off the trail and started investigating the sunken road as a potential place to camp, but came up empty.

Setting up my tarp without any trees and no trekking pole.... well, there really was nothing to set up. I wound up throwing the tarp over my campsite like a blanket. Which is something I've done before, but typically just when there's an ever-so-light sprinkle that is likely to pass through quickly. According to the weather forecast, there was a lot of rain expected during the night. This was going to be a miserable night....


This is definitely not the best setup when the weather forecast is predicting heavy rains during the night. I'll be throwing everything under the tarp and sleeping with it just laying on the ground like this. (See a bit of my groundsheet sticking out from under the tarp?)

In the morning, I'll have to backtrack and look for the trekking pole. Ugh. If I were in a thick forest, I'd live without it until I could get into town and buy a replacement, but I need this pole just to set up my tarp in this treeless terrain. I did stake out the corners and edges of my tarp, just to make sure the wind didn't blow it away, but with absolutely nothing to support the ridge line, it just laid over me like a blanket.

By the early evening, it started sprinkling. In the distance, I could see flashes from lightning and the rumble of thunder. It was, I knew, going to be a long, miserable night....

The cloud cover definitely helped keep temperatures a bit cooler in the morning, but it would still be miserably hot by the afternoon.

That little black dot ahead is either Bugs or Sweet Pea. I don't remember anymore and it's much too small for me to recognize which one it is.

'Twas the first water source of the day! I'd grab my water from the spring in the covered tube.

They're like little stepping stones across the boggy mud!

Sweet Tooth (L) and Bugs (R) beat the heat of the day by making their own shade.

The second water source of the day was cold, clean water from this pipe! It was, however, located about a half-mile off trail. *sigh*

I sense there's a thru-hiker ahead of me....

I was a bit curious about what this was doing here, so I popped open the container to find out....

Apparently, it's part of this "Lode Mining Claim." I'm still not exactly sure what it meant, but reading the rest of the text, it almost sounded like someone wanted to mine this property and this was how they notified the property owner that they were going to mine it? It all seemed a little odd and weird to me, but not my problem!

It's like someone took all the cow poop in the area and piled it up into a big pile of crap! And I'd find these big piles of poop along the trail quite frequently! Very odd....

What a pretty rainbow! Just ignore the lightning and thunder coming from the cloud behind it! =)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sweet Tooth and Bugs have the right umbrellas! I’ve thought about buying the UV umbrellas because they not only provide shade but reduce the temperature by more than10 degrees.