Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day 6: Taylor Mountain to Spring Near 2147

Water. I woke surrounded by water - the dew on the grass in the meadow, the rain-saturated muddy ground - but had absolutely nothing to drink. My water bottle was completely empty, and the next listed water source was miles away. 

Thirst. Thoughts of water consumed me as finished the climb to Taylor Mountain. Distracted, we made a wrong turn, leading us into two snowfields. And at the base of one of the snowfields, a large puddle of fresh snowmelt.  We slowly scooped out three liters, a half cup at a time. Water!

Even the elk abandoned the official CDT route as it traversed a steep and treacherous side hill strewn with rocks and riddled with the holes and raised tunnels of industrious ground squirrels. We made slow progress, constantly checking GPS for reassurance that we were still on track. 

Although the trail eventually appeared, it disappeared again later in the afternoon, abandoning us in a snarl of downed trees and wet, knee-high grass and brush. Again we relied on GPS, making slow progress until a "junction" where our route joined an existing, maintained trail. 

By then it was getting late, and we began searching for camp. But in the middle of a burned out section of forest, we had to hike on for a while to find living trees in which to hang our food. We eventually found a grassy knoll with a few live pine trees in the midst of the burn and made a hasty camp. 

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