Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 36: Ridge Above Rogers Pass to Dry Lake

Fierce winds buffeted the tent. The squat, scrubby pines that had seemed our best protection from the wind last night, now seemed like no protection at all. I woke before the sun, anxious to get off the ridge as fast as humanly possible. 

We leaned into the wind, fighting the gusts to stay on the trail. As we descended to Rogers Pass (5,610 ft) the taller trees provided a welcome respite from the relentless wind. 

We met only one other hiker today, Trailblazer. But the large mounds of fresh bear scat on the trail tell us we are not alone. Hungry grizzlies also travel this lonely corridor. 

We climbed Green Mountain, Red Mountain, and countless other unnamed ridges as we headed into the Scapegoat Wilderness. We climbed next to white cliffs clothed in rusty orange lichen. Wildflowers carpeted the ridgetops.  Mountains stretch endlessly to the north and west. 

Icy blasts of wind kept us bundled up a day. The wind also propelled a steady parade of towering thunderheads across the sky above us, but the fast-moving clouds did not drop any rain. Exposed on a ridge for most of the day, we were grateful that the threatened thunderstorms never materialized. We were also thankful to find a sheltered camp off the ridge near a dry, rocky lake bed. 

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