Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 13: Bannock Pass to Ridge Near Lemhi Pass

The owner of the Silver Dollar Restaurant in Leodore had promised to open up by 7, but when we arrived the doors were locked up tightly.  We waited a few minutes before resigning ourselves to another cold breakfast of ProBars and PopTarts. To paraphrase Gramps from Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons, "This ain't the Silver Dollar, but it'll do."

As our trail passed through a pasture, we tried to speak soothingly to the cows. But the cows scattered as we approached, as though they had a premonition of the steaks, hamburgers, and veal cutlets to come.  Reaching the end of the pasture we discovered that, despite a self-closing mechanism on the gate, the rancher had nevertheless chosen to wire the gate shut, leaving us to climb up and over to escape the pasture. 

Farther up the trail, we met a Northwest Youth Groups trail crew hard at work, wielding axes, picks, shovels, and other heavy tools as they improved the trail. Beyond, packs, jackets, and water bottles lined the next mile of trail like items at a yard sale. Still farther up the trail we found an exhausted crew member lying underneath a tree, fast asleep. 

A red-tailed hawk took to flight as we approached, soaring over the valley below. We climbed out of the sage and lupine into alpine meadows lined with melting snowfields and filled with yellow glacier lilies and magenta shooting stars. Unfortunately, such alpine beauty tends to go hand in hand with swarming mosquitoes. We hiked quickly in an attempt to keep them at bay. 

Muddy sections of trail provided a record of other anime who had passed through: elk, deer, antelope, coyote, wolf, and bear. 

A tawny owl swooped 10 feet above our heads, its round face scanning the fields surrounded our camp for mice and other tasty creatures.  The deep red orb of the sun slipped behind the mountains, momentarily coloring the sky with bursts of reds, pinks, and golds. 

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