Friday, September 16, 2022

Day 146: The Chinese Wall

September 13: It didn't rain during the night, but it did start to sprinkle as I was eating breakfast so I decided to lay around in my sleeping bag and hoped to wait it out. IB Tat filmed himself recording making coffee in the morning, an activity I knew he found annoying but did anyhow to keep his YouTube fans happy. He didn't let the rain stop him from packing up and leaving before I did, however.

It wasn't until about 8:00am when I finally broke down camp and started hiking.

Today would be a fairly rugged day of hiking with lots of ups and downs. In all, my GPS would record about 4000 feet of ups and another 4000 feet of downs. Not as bad some some recent days, but definitely comparable to a typical day in Colorado which is no easy feat!

I was looking forward to seeing the Chinese Wall this afternoon. I'd been hearing stories about it from other hikers for eons. That and this area in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in general were among some of the most popular areas along the trail, and today I would finally see the Chinese Wall for myself. IB Tat said he had spent time in this area before and was excited to be back at the Chinese Wall again--almost deliriously happy to be back, it seemed to me.

And it was.... nice. It was a huge wall thrust out of the ground, several miles long--so long, that there was no point along the trail where you could see the entire thing. It was dramatic and beautiful, but I still found myself a little disappointed with it. Perhaps everyone had built it up so much in my mind that it was bound to disappoint. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had no idea it was there and "discovered" it for myself.

Most of the day, I followed along near the base of the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, which was dramatic, but at no point could I see the entire wall much less fit it in a photo!

I caught up with IB Tat taking a break in front of the wall. He would be the only hiker I saw all day, but when I passed him at his break, he did report seeing Just Awesome so he couldn't have been far ahead even though I never did cross paths with him.

Shortly after that, I took a wrong turn at a junction and wound up getting off trail for about a half hour. Argh! In the grand scheme of things, I only lost a half hour of time, but I was still annoyed at having to backtrack back to the trail. If I had checked my GPS more often, I could have caught the mistake much sooner.

Late in the day, I deliberately veered off the main red-line CDT onto the Spotted Bear Alternate. There were conflicting accounts about which route was nicer. It sounded like the first half of the main red-line route was prettier, but then the second half of the alternate was better which probably added to the confusion. Hiking the first part on the main red-line CDT then taking a side trail to the second half of the Spotted Bear Alternate would probably be the most scenic option of all, and if time weren't an issue, that's probably what I would have chosen, but still a little concerned about getting done with the trail before the snow started flying, I decided to take the shortest route which was the Spotted Bear Alternate.

It sprinkled a bit in the afternoon--not so hard that I needed an umbrella--but it was enough to get all of the vegetation wet and when I reached the overgrown alternate, the water from the vegetation absolutely soaked my legs and feet with cold water. That was pretty unpleasant and annoying.

I soon reached a clearing by a creek and called it a day. I switched out into my warm, dry camp clothes and made myself comfortable. Thus ended another day on the trail.............

At one point, I spotted a mountain goat on the Chinese Wall. I zoomed in as much as I could and digitally zoomed in as much as possible, but this was the best I could get. See that white spot near the center of the photo? Mountain goat! I'm just amazed at the places these guys can climb up to. There is no way in the world I could climb to this point and not fall to my death!

The wall just keeps going and going and going....

Home, sweet, home for the night!


Mary said...

I checked IB Tat's youtube and watched 5 seconds of one episode (#14 maybe). He's the foul-mouthed guy! The first words out of his mouth are offensive. IB Tat stands for "I've Been To A Town" (and didn't much care for it). Hiking helped him become sober.

Mary said...

Gorgeous photos of the Chinese Wall!

Ryan said...

Oh, yes, he definitely uses a lot of foul language in his YouTube videos. It's kind of his "thing." I mentioned that when I first met him back in Colorado. Guess I should have included a new warning.

But I'll also mention, I never actually heard him cuss "in real life." Just his videos! Seems like it's something of a character he plays. I mean, he probably does cuss in real life too, but certainly not nearly as often as he does in his videos!