Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Day 142: The Yurt Above Rogers Pass

September 9: The morning was beautiful and I slept well during the night. I slept in late, mostly so I could hike back down with Addie and Sean to Rogers Pass where they had parked their vehicle. I was accustomed to waking up earlier than they were, however, so I read my Kindle to kill the time until they were ready to get up and moving.

Twas a beautiful sunrise!

As soon as we left the protective cover of the trees, the brutal wind showed itself once again. It had not died down during the night and continued to pull at us as strongly as ever, and it would continue to do so throughout the rest of the day.

The trail dropped a long 1,300' (400 m) to Rogers Pass, which we reached after less than 3 miles according to my GPS. The group of us sat around for about two more hours just chatting and having a good old time. Not that I needed a two-hour break after hiking less than 3 miles, but this was where we would part ways. So we took a long break and sat around for the next two hours just chatting and having a good old time.

A sign in a parking lot told the story about the coldest temperature ever recorded in the contiguous United States. On January 20, 1954, a low temperature of -70 °F (-57 °C) was recorded. I couldn't even imagine temperatures that low, and I was glad I didn't have to camp in such extreme conditions! Of course, it was still summer rather than the depths of January. That would make a big difference, and I definitely wouldn't have been hiking through in the middle of January.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in the contiguous United States was recorded at this pass. A whopping -70 °F! Isn't Antarctica usually warmer than that?

A little before noon, we finally went our separate ways. Addie and Sean filled me up with more trail magic out of their car, including fresh water that I didn't have to pull from the creek leading up to the parking lot. I was a little sad to be parting ways, though. I really enjoyed their company.

Out of Roger Pass, the trail climbed steeply up the next mountain. It was going to be another day of very rough and rugged terrain. In all, my GPS would once again record over 10,000 feet of elevation gain and loss--all in less than 18 miles. This trail is rougher than Colorado was!

A couple of hours into my hike, I reached a yurt on the trail that was open to hikers. I went in for a quick break and it was absolutely wonderful. It make a terrific place for a quick snack out of the powerful winds. I wished I could have slept there, but since I had arrived at 1:00 in the afternoon, it was much too early for me to stop for the day. Anyhow, I hadn't even covered 10 miles yet. It was definitely way too early for me to stop for the day, but what a comfortable setup!

I found a headlamp in a portable chair. It was in the cup that was meant to hold drinks. I had little doubt it was left by a thru-hiker who probably camped here during the night and forgot to pick it up on his way out, but I had no idea who it might have been or how long ago it had been left. I thought about grabbing it, but I really didn't need the extra weight and with little chance of catching up to the owner, it seemed pointless, so I left it behind.

Yurt on the trail!

A couple of days later, I would catch up with Jazz Hands who then asked me if I happened to notice the headlamp in the yurt. "Yes! That was yours?!" It was indeed. Then I felt bad for not grabbing it. I really could have returned it to its owner! It seemed like such a long shot that I'd ever have found the owner, and I certainly didn't think it had been left there just that morning. For all I knew, it could have been there for a week or more. Oh, well.... He told me that he didn't realize it was missing until it starting getting late that night and was a bit panicked about having lost it. He often hiked at night and needed the headlamp for that. Oh... well.... Just make me feel even more guilty for not picking it up, why don't you? =)

Anyhow, I pushed onward, passing a second structure not far away, although it was decidedly less cozy than the yurt. The other structure had no windows to let in light and was barren of amenities like chairs and tables. I poked my head in to see what it looked like, but I didn't stop.

A non-yurt on the trail! This was much less cozy than the yurt, though.

Onward and onward! At Lewis and Clark Pass, I decided to skip the water source located about 1/4-mile off trail. It sounded like somewhat of a pain to get to, and I figured I could reach the next water source without stopping here. I had been undecided about whether I'd stop for water here until the moment I reached the pass. The next reliable water was another 10 miles down the trail--a distance that I knew I would not reach today. But the idea of spending a half hour or more off trail picking up water was discouraging, and I figured if I rationed my water, I could make it to the next water source just fine.

I had a few things working in my favor. For one, I still had leftover pizza from yesterday for dinner, so I didn't need water to cook a meal. And second, temperatures had been quite mild--at least after considering the wind chill--so I hadn't really been drinking very much. So with a bit of rationing, I should have no trouble skipping this source. Although in hindsight, I wished I had carried more water from Rogers Pass so I didn't have to ration the water at all. I'd definitely be a little thirsty when I did reach the next water source 10 miles away.

As the day went on, the smoke in the skies got thicker and thicker. By sunset, visibility had dropped significantly. 

Smoke in the sky was often so thick, it almost looked like fog in my photos!

Then, just before sunset, I finally stopped and set up camp on a ridgetop among some small trees that helped break the wind.  If it wasn't for all the smoke, the views might have actually been quite nice!

And thus ended another day of adventuring. Despite my slow and late start in the morning, I still managed to push out about 18 miles for the day--the vast majority of it coming after noon. I did hike much later into the evening than I usually did to help compensate for my lack of hiking in the morning, but it all turned out pretty well over all. =)

One of Addie's dogs seemed to prefer hiking with me than her! =)

Roger Pass

Inside the yurt

The smoke was so thick, I could get this photo of the sun in the middle of the day!

1 comment:

Bon Echo said...

I guess through-hikers should write their name on stuff they might lose on the trail. Had the headlamp said Jazz Hands, you would have known right away to take it with you.