Thursday, June 25, 2015

Day 15: Goldstone Pass to Hamby Creek

A squirrel chattered angrily just outside the tent. Five minutes later, the squirrel began protesting again. Our morning alarm, complete with snooze at five minute intervals. 

Climbing the final ridge before Goldstone Pass, we met Banjo, Kiddo, and two other CDT hikers who had flipped up to Helena and were hiking southbound to avoid the snow. Kiddo, who lives near Glacier, informed us that the glacier lilies are edible, so we promptly sampled a flower. Not bad, but almost flavorless, like a limp, mild lettuce leaf.

As we climbed up and down along the ridge, we slid down steep, rocky snowfields. I postholed once, striking my ankle against a sharp rock. Snowmelt water slowly dropped from the rocky cliffs like a leaky faucet, and it tasted cool and crisp. 

Lower down we waded through fields of purple and white lupine. 

A large barn owl swooped overhead, landing on a bare, gray branch of a ghostly tree ahead. He swiveled his round head and peered at us before lifting off and soaring away. 

Reaching the snowmelt swollen Berry Creek, we eyed a wet, slippery narrow log before wading into the icy, knee-high water. Squishing up the trail, water seeped out of our sodden shoes, and we knew they wouldn't dry before morning. 

Shortly after the crossing, a legions of bloodthirsty insects swarmed in, seemingly impervious to the large quantities of Ben's 100% Deet sprayed on every exposed surface. These mosquitoes drink Deet for breakfast. 

We decided to camp just above Hamby Creek, hoping for fewer mosquitoes than in the swampy meadows near the creek. It was a decision we would eventually come to regret. 

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