Friday, June 13, 2014

Day 4: Cow Camp to Highway 114

We fell asleep to the frantic yips of coyotes circling their prey and woke to a gentle chorus of birds.  We began hiking over rolling green hills dotted with bright red paintbrush, tiny daisies with yellow centers, silvery purple lupine, and small white flowers. Nearing a creek, clusters of deep purple irises poked through the lush, tall grass. A beautiful green hummingbird approached on screeching wings, hovered nearby, then flew off.

Our hike took us on a series of ranching and forest service roads. A large red ranch truck pulled over. The driver and his wife talked with me about our hike for a few minutes. Other than Sierra, it was the first human contact I'd had in four days. 

We continued down an abandoned forest service road carpeted with cheerful yellow dandelions. Butterflies flitted around our heads as they moved from one blossom to the next: yellow and black swallowtails, smaller white butterflies with bright orange spots on their wings, tiny blue butterflies. 

We reached Highway 114 by mid afternoon. No one was there. With no cell phone coverage, we curled up with our books to wait. Jeff pulled up about thirty minutes later and whisked us away to Gunnison to resupply. 

We leave this first section battered and bruised, but not broken. Our feet blistered from soggy shoes, my ankle swollen from being forcefully yanked out of a deep, snowy posthole, my fingers sore and scabbed from sharp icy shards.  And we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!

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