Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 37: Mismarked Road Crossing to Muddy Creek

Icy fingers of fog reached in to the forest and wrapped themselves around the trees. Eyes straining through the fog, we could barely see from one rock cairn to the next. 

A single stag bounded away as we climbed to the top of a hill. Looking back as we descended, I saw the same stag, peering around corner of ridge, watching us go.  Later we watched as antelope grazed on the hills. 

We hiked through thick, knee high grass as we followed rock cairns over one hill after another. We eventually found ourselves on a dirt road, and spent the rest of the day following dirt roads through the rolling hills. Some of this land is used for ranching, with cattle grazing peacefully next to the trail. Other land has been left wild, home to deer and antelope. 

We stopped for lunch at the North Fork of Slavery Creek.  Swallows swooped around the bridge, and large fish gulped up insects hovering over the water. 

Climbing up the soft, loose dirt road was like climbing up a steep sand dune. Dirt seeped in through the many holes in my ragged shoes until I felt I was hiking barefoot, dirt and sand squishing under my feet and between my toes. A small horned road scuttled across the sandy road. 

Correlation does not imply causation. Logically I know that my Suntactics S5 solar charger cannot summon thunderheads the moment I strap it to my pack to begin charging. Nevertheless, the strong correlation between those two events has earned my otherwise effective and efficient solar charger the trail name "Sun Killer."  Today was no exception. Large thunderheads hovered within an hour of my plugging my phone into the solar charger, and we dodged the rain all afternoon. 

Passing through cattle country, we negotiated several gates over the course of the day. One gate simply refused to budge. Gingerly we climbed barbed wire fence, managing to scramble over without damaging our skin, clothes, or packs on the rusty wire. 

After six hours of walking along a deserted BLM road, we had yet to see a car. With no other camping in sight, we set up our tent in the ditch along the shoulder. Muddy Creek runs in the ravine on the other side of the road, and the rolling hills stretch endlessly in every direction. 

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